Google Adds Fact-Checking To Images In Bid To Combat Fake News

Google is one of the largest tech companies in the world. Photo: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

 

Google said Monday it was adding fact-check labels to images as part of its efforts to stem visually misleading information.

The new labels will be attached to the underlying web pages of photos and videos which appear in a Google search, the tech giant said.

Google showed how the fact-check system works with an illustration of a widely circulated set of images which showed — falsely —  sharks were swimming in the streets of Houston after a 2017 hurricane.

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

“Starting today, we are surfacing fact check information in Google Images globally to help people navigate these issues and make more informed judgments about what they see on the web.”

The new labels will be based on the ClaimReview database established by independent fact-checkers.

“Now, when you search on Google Images, you may see a ‘Fact Check’ label under the thumbnail image results,” Cohen said.

“When you tap one of these results to view the image in a larger format, you’ll see a summary of the fact check that appears on the underlying web page. These labels may appear both for fact check articles about specific images and for fact check articles that include an image in the story.”

Google said the new labels won’t affect search rankings: “Our systems are designed to surface the most relevant, reliable information available, including from sources that provide fact checks,” Cohen said.

 

AFP

Kobe Bryant’s Achievements Before Tragic Helicopter Crash

 

 

Factfile on 18-time NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash Sunday at age 41 after playing his entire 20-season career with the Los Angeles Lakers:

Name: Kobe Bryant

Former Team: Los Angeles Lakers (1996-2016)

Position: Guard

Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Born: August 23, 1978

Died January 26, 2020

Height: 6feet, 6inches, 1.98m

Weight: 212lbs, 96kg

– Bryant was the son of Joe “Jelly Bean” Bryant, who played eight seasons in the NBA

– Bryant spent eight years of his childhood with his family in Italy

– Bryant married Vanessa Laine, April 18, 2001. Daughter Natalia was born in January, 2003; daughter Gianna was born May, 2006; daughter Bianka was born December, 2016 and daughter Capri was born June, 2019

Awards/career highlights

– Bryant won five NBA championships — 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010

– Named NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in leading Lakers to titles in 2009 and 2010

– Earned Olympic gold medals with USA at 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics

– Named NBA regular-season MVP in 2007-08 season and a record-tying four-time NBA All-Star Game MVP — 2002, 2007, 2009 and 2011

– On January 22, 2006 scored a career-high 81 points in Lakers’ 122-104 victory over Toronto, second-most points in a game in NBA history

– In 2018, his movie “Dear Basketball” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

– Selected with 13th overall choice by Charlotte Hornets in 1996 NBA draft, becoming the 27th player to join NBA straight from high school.

– Acquired by Lakers shortly after draft

– Named an NBA All-Star 18 times – 1998 and 2000-2016

– Two-time NBA scoring champion – 2006 and 2007

– 1997 NBA Slam Dunk Contest winner

– Had both his jersey numbers, 8 and 24, retired by the Lakers, an unprecedented move

– Scored 33,643 points, grabbed 7,047 rebounds and passed off 6,306 assists over 1,346 career NBA games

– Scored a season-high 60 points in his last NBA game on April 13, 2016 in a 101-96 Lakers’ victory over Utah, becoming the oldest player in NBA history to score 60 points at 37 years and 234 days

Some of the significant injuries that affected Bryant during his career:

– Broken metacarpal bone in right hand, 1999-00 season

– Right index finger laceration, sprained right shoulder, 2003-04

– Severely sprained right ankle, 2004-05

– Index finger avulsion fracture, right knee swelling, sprained left ankle, 2009-10

– Torn left Achilles tendon requiring surgery, 2012-13

– Broken bone in left knee, 2013-14

– Torn right shoulder rotator cuff, 2015

Five Key Moments In Trump Impeachment Hearing, Day 1

US President Donald Trump talks to the media on the South Lawn upon his return to the White House by Marine One, in Washington, DC, November 3, 2019, after returning from a trip to New York. Olivier Douliery / AFP

 

During hours of detailed and at times dramatic public testimony Wednesday, two star witnesses shed light on US President Donald Trump’s pressure on Ukraine at the heart of the impeachment inquiry against him.

American viewers finally heard firsthand from key figures in the Ukraine scandal, beginning with Washington’s top envoy to Kiev William Taylor, and deputy assistant secretary of state George Kent.

Here are five key moments in the nationally televised impeachment hearing:

New revelations

A crucial surprise came when Taylor revealed a phone call between Trump and another diplomat occurred one day after the president’s controversial July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Taylor said his staffer was with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland and overheard Trump on the call “asking Ambassador Sondland about the investigations” of Democratic rival Joe Biden.

The staffer asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine. “Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cared more about the investigations of Biden, which (Trump lawyer Rudy) Giuliani was pressing for,” than about Ukraine itself, Taylor added.

The revelation is important because it highlights Trump’s knowledge about the effort to get Kiev to probe the Bidens and deflates a Trump defense that he “hardly” knows Sondland, as he said last week.

Republican attacks

Republicans accused the witnesses of being out-of-touch bureaucrats too removed from Trump’s inner circle to speak authoritatively about what happened, or to know the president’s intentions.

Trump loyalist Jim Jordan, aggressively questioning Taylor, sought to paint a muddled picture of Ukrainian-related discussions, including Taylor’s communications with Sondland.

“We’ve got six people having four conversations in one sentence,” Jordan told Taylor, referring to closed-door testimony by Sondland, “and you told me this is where you got your clear understanding?”

The intelligence panel’s top Republican Devin Nunes meanwhile attempted to discredit the Democratic effort as “nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime.”

Biden wrongdoing? ‘None’

In his call with Zelensky, Trump urged his counterpart to “look into” possible wrongdoing by Biden, whose son Hunter was on the board of Ukrainian energy company Burisma when his father was vice president.

Republicans have used that talking point to suggest the Bidens were involved in corruption. No such evidence has emerged.

When the Democratic counsel asked Kent whether there were any facts to support those allegations, Kent replied, “None whatsoever,” adding that Biden acted in accordance with official US policy.

Kent did say he raised concerns with Biden’s staff that his son’s status with Burisma “could create the perception of a conflict of interest.”

‘Irregular’ channel

Taylor spoke of an irregular channel, set up by Giuliani, that “undercut” official US policy with Ukraine while seeking to help the president politically.

Washington officially supported Ukraine receiving military aid, in particular to counter Russian aggression, but the witnesses warned that Giuliani was seeking to condition such aid with Kiev launching politically motivated investigations.

“I began to sense that the two decision-making channels — the regular and irregular — were at odds,” Taylor said.

He also said he told the administration that “withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign… would be crazy.”

Ukraine’s challenges

Often overlooked in the impeachment drama is the security situation in Ukraine, which is facing off against Russia’s military. Kiev also accuses the Kremlin of supporting pro-Moscow rebels.

Taylor reminded lawmakers and viewers that “even as we sit here today,” Ukraine is under daily attack from Russia-backed forces.

Just last week, he added, he visited the front lines on a day that a Ukrainian soldier was killed.

Had the military aid been frozen, it would have severely weakened Zelensky in negotiations with Russia and on the battlefield, Taylor said.