Google brings fake news fact-checking to search results

Ken Copeland
April 8, 2017

Google has introduced a new feature to its search and news services to help combat the spread of fake news and provide better quality information to its users. Their conclusions will appear in search results as long as they meet certain formatting criteria for automation.

According to the recent post on the Google blog, publishers can now enable a "Fact Check" tag in Google News which will mark as news those articles that have been fact-checked by publishers and respected fact-checking organizations, like Politifact, FactCheck.org and Snopes. Google announced this feature in October previous year in partnership with Jigsaw.

As of now though, this information will not be available for every search that you make. "The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim". Google faces the same challenge here as with ranking search results: it wants to be as transparent as possible without providing enough information to allow sites to manipulate the results.

Google warns that the fact check label won't appear for every possible conspiracy or insane news story you can think of.

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The tags won't be about "calling out" obvious falsehoods, but will attempt to assign degrees of veracity for fact-based (rather than opinion) pieces and the labels will appear next to news results in the way "highly cited" appears today.

German chancellor Angela Merkel's cabinet has also backed legislation that could lead to fines of up to €50m if social networks refuse to remove illegal content and don't give users an effective way to report fake news and hate speech. Beyond that, publishers must be using the ClaimReview markup or the Share the Facts widget to be included. Finally, Google's algorithms need to determine that they are an authoritative source of information.

It is impossible to search for anything on the internet without running into opposing views or falsified accounts, a reality that Google has attempted to curb with its Fact Check news option. To help deal with concerns of bias from one fact checking team or another, Google's Justin Kosslyn explained how multiple positions on a given topic will present itself.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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