Technology giant Google says it is working hard to curb misinformation and fake news on its platforms. The company also says it takes down 80% of harmful content before it is viewed.

Google appeared before Parliament’s Communications Portfolio Committee on Tuesday.

The tech giant says it’s on an ongoing drive to curb hate speech, child abuse, fake news and misinformation. This includes conspiracy theories relating to COVID-19 as well as misinformation in the run up to the October local government elections.

Google says it had taken down six million videos on YouTube in 2020 and has trained 10 000 people to detect fake news and misinformation.

Google was also quizzed about its privacy policy on the sharing of personal information in the wake of WhatsApp changing its privacy policy.

What you need to know about WhatsApp’s new terms and conditions:

South African Google Director, Alister Mokoena, says consumers have a right to control what information Google can collect on them.

Pygma Consulting Managing Director, Thabisa Faye, says when people download applications they don’t know, they give permission of listed conditions.

Director for Government Affairs and Public Policy at Google Southern Africa, Charles Murito, says the company has to ensure that their algorithms are working to drive strong removals, especially around misinformation.

“We ensure that our algorithms are really working to drive really strong removals especially around misinformation, around hate speech and other hateful content. And I would like to point out that over 80% of content that is actually put up that transgresses our community guidelines is actually taken down before it has a single view,” says Murito.