Providing useful and trusted information online is a complex and important responsibility, especially around elections. Our aim is to build helpful tools that get you to the information you’re looking for. As we get closer to the EU Parliamentary elections, alongside our broader package of support, we’re making it easier to help you access quality content online. We’re also working in partnership with fact checking organizations to support a healthy news ecosystem online, as well as helping voters get the information they need more broadly.
Making quality count in more countries in Europe
On Google Search, we make algorithmic updates every day to ensure we surface authoritative content that’s useful to you. On YouTube, too, we’ve invested in new product features to make authoritative sources more prominent, including launching Top News and Breaking News in the U.K., France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Poland, Netherlands and more. These features make it easier for you to find news from verified sources by highlighting videos in the Top News shelf, or showing the Breaking News shelf on the YouTube homepage for key news events.
We’re working on bringing these features to more European countries in the coming weeks and months. We’ll also be launching publisher transparency labels on YouTube in even more countries across Europe, including the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Poland. These labels will appear on the YouTube videos from channels of news publishers who receive government or public funding. Our goal here is to equip you with more information to help you better understand the sources of news content that you choose to watch on YouTube.
A focus on the EU elections on Google News
For those hungry for EU election-related news, there’s a specific destination in Google News to get you to the top journalism on the election topics you care about, faster. You’ll see a dedicated “2019 European elections” topic for countries where Google News is available in Europe, pulling in the latest election news coverage in your country and across the European Union.
Supporting elections news coverage with Google Trends
You can also stay close to the pulse of the EU elections through Google Trends—the tool that helps surface the top questions, issues and most-searched candidates running in the elections. We’re working closely with news partners across Europe to surface Google Trends data and support data-driven stories on the latest topics related to the election. We’ve also created a dedicated Google Trends EU Election hub for Germany, France and the U.K.
New tools for fact checkers
We recently launched two tools to help fact checkers work more efficiently and effectively. When publishers write a fact check article, they can tag the article with information about the fact check—for example, what was the claim being assessed, who made the claim, what was the verdict and more. Adding a tag, or “ClaimReview,” to a fact-check article allows search engines and social media platforms to easily recognize that it’s a fact-checking article, meaning it will show up that way in news and search results.
The Fact Check Markup tool makes the process of tagging fact checking content using the ClaimReview even easier for reporters. Similarly, the new Fact Check Explorer helps journalists find fact checking articles for various topics through a simple search function–it is also available to all interested members of the public. The APIs for these tools are open, so developers can build their own applications to assist fact checkers around the world.
Partnerships and support for fact check organizations
Driving a healthy news ecosystem online and combating misinformation means forging partnerships with industry organizations. We’re working with First Draft, an organization we’ve supported since they were founded in 2015. As part of the Google News Initiative, we’ve supported four verification training events—two-day intensive workshops—for hundreds of journalists in Brussels, Frankfurt, Madrid and Milan. Journalists were provided with training on digital verification techniques and given access to use CrossCheck, a First Draft platform which helps journalists debunk misinformation and share their findings.
We’re also supporting the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) to launch FactCheckEU, a collaborative effort with 19 European fact-checking outlets to tackle disinformation and hoaxes. Organizations from 13 countries will share their work ahead of the elections in May, making their analysis publicly available in 10 different languages, with everything repeated in English.
We’re also providing digital tools and verification workshops across each of the 28 member states. In the last four years, the Google News Lab has trained 65,000 journalists in-person across Europe, and in the last four months alone we’ve supported 4,800 journalists to strengthen their newsgathering and research skills. Workshops have included tips on digital safety and security. For those unable to make the session in-person, the online training center is always available.
This is just a snapshot of our work around the EU Parliamentary elections. By partnering with trusted fact checking organizations, these new tools can help voters get and stay informed, better understand the political advertising they see and scrutinize and understand rival claims throughout the elections.