Google’s Jigsaw subsidiary, which deals with online security, will launch a campaign next week to tackle disinformation in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic about Ukrainians who have found refuge in European countries, Reuters reports.

Psychologists from the universities of Cambridge and Bristol have produced 90-second clips designed to “inoculate” people against harmful content on social media.

The clips, which will run in advertising slots on Google’s YouTube, Twitter, TikTok and Facebook, aim to help people identify emotional manipulation and scapegoating in a news headline.

“If you tell people what’s true and false, a lot of people will dispute … but what you can predict are the techniques that will be used in spreading misinformation, like with the Ukrainian crisis,” Jon Roozenbeek, campaign’s lead expert, said.

The campaign is designed to build resilience to anti-refugee narratives, in partnership with local non-government organisations, fact checkers, academics, and disinformation experts.

“We are thinking of this as a pilot experiment, so there’s absolutely no reason that this approach couldn’t be scaled to other countries,” Beth Goldberg, head of research at Jigsaw, said in an interview.

The campaign will start in Poland because it has the most Ukrainian refugees and will run for a month.

It is underscored that the spread of misleading and fake information in the United States and Europe through social media networks has led to various governments pushing for new laws to stem disinformation campaigns.

Bohdan Marusyak

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