Seeing isn’t always believing: Google starts fact-checking images

Google said Monday that it will start identifying some misleading photos in its specific search tool for images with a fact-check label, expanding that function beyond its standard non-image searches and videos, as misinformation is rampant online. The fact-check label will appear on any image that is included in an article that fact-checks a photo or another claim. A larger preview of the photo will show a short summary of the fact-check and direct users to its source.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company has used these fact-checking labels for years in its main search results and on video-streaming site YouTube. In December, Google said fact checks appear more than 11 million times each day in search results.

“Photos and videos are an incredible way to help people understand what’s going on in the world,” Google product manager Harris Cohen wrote in a blog post announcing the new fact-check labels. “But the power of visual media has its pitfalls⁠ — especially when there are questions surrounding the origin, authenticity or context of an image.”