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Google partners with India’s ECI to offer helpful information to voters

Google’s strict ad policies and AI scrutiny aim to uphold the sanctity of India’s democratic process.

As millions of Indian citizens prepare to exercise their democratic right in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, tech giant Google is doing its part to ensure a secure electoral process. In a recent press release, the company outlined its comprehensive strategy to empower voters, safeguard its platforms, and combat misinformation – and how it’ll be using AI to do so. Let’s take a look.

Firstly, Google is collaborating with the Election Commission of India (ECI) to provide critical voting details, such as registration and voting procedures, in English and Hindi through Google Search and YouTube.

Additionally, YouTube will feature election information panels, including candidate profiles and registration guidelines, ensuring that users have access to authoritative sources. The platform’s recommendation system will prominently display content from trusted publishers on election-related topics.

Google says that protecting the integrity of elections is a top priority and that it’s employing a multi-pronged approach to combat misinformation and abuse on its platforms. The search giant has reiterated that it’s got strict policies in place to address false claims, hate speech, harassment, and other forms of abuse that could undermine the democratic process.

But this time, Google is doing something different too. It’s also leveraging advanced AI models and machine learning techniques to identify and remove content that violates its policies at scale. The company also says it’s assigned a dedicated team of local experts across major Indian languages to provide relevant context and ensure swift action against emerging threats.

Google is also tightening up who gets to advertise on its platforms. Advertisers must undergo an identity verification process and obtain a pre-certificate from the ECI or authorised entities for each election ad they wish to run. Additionally, the ads must display clear disclosures indicating the sponsor’s identity.

In addition to this, Google is actively collaborating with news organisations, fact-checkers, and other stakeholders to counter misinformation. Through initiatives like the Google News Initiative Training Network, Fact Check Explorer tool, and partnerships with entities like Shakti, India Election Fact-Checking Collective, the company is supporting efforts to debunk misinformation, detect deepfakes, and create a shared repository for tackling misinformation challenges at scale.

Lastly, to help users identify AI-generated content, Google is utilising tools and policies like Ads disclosures, content labels on YouTube, and digital watermarking.

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