The world’s leading search engine, Google, has introduced a new fact-checking tag in its new section for readers to establish whether or not the information they read online is true. The move comes in the wake of the increase in fact-checking by online organizations, especially with regard to claims by politicians and public speakers.
An official statement from Google reads, “In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Today, we’re adding another new tag, ‘Fact check,’ to help readers find fact checking in large news stories.”
The fact-check feature works through an algorithmic procedure from Schema.org referred to as Claim Review, where live stories are linked to fact-checking articles and websites. The process allows readers to validate or debunk information they read on the internet as fast as possible.
During the process, fact-checking articles will appear on the screen below the main headline. The search engine giant used an example of a headline over passport checks for an expectant woman, with a link to Full Fact’s analysis of the subject matter.
Through the fact-checking feature, readers will be able to establish if stories are false, claims in the headline are fake, or if there is an exaggeration in the information given. Google said that the new fact-checking feature would first be available in the United Kingdom and the United States through the Google News site. The feature will also be available on the news and weather apps for both iOS and Android platforms. Those who would like to become a part of the new service are encouraged to apply to have their websites included.
“We’re excited to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to shine a light on its efforts to divine fact from fiction, wisdom from spin,” Google added.
Google is not the first organization to make a move on fact-checking. A report from Duke University Reporter’s Lab revealed that there are over 100 fact-checking sites online, including BBC’s Reality Check.
The feature has now become increasingly common, with firms like the International Fact-Checking Network, PolitFact, and FullFact analyzing speeches by politicians and other public speakers to establish whether or not they are true. Google’s head of new, Richard Gingras, pointed out that such publishers that already have fact checking services can still apply to be included in the search results.
However, not all fact-checking sites run by algorithm have managed to fulfill their intended purpose. According to a report by the Independent, Facebook has had a difficult time preventing false headlines from appearing in its own trending news feature. The leading social media company changed human curators for an algorithm when a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly being sacked over allegiances to Hilary Clinton caused conflict.
The fact-checking feature from Google comes in time for the final round of the U.S. presidential elections. Although Google does not name Brexit or Donald Trump openly, authors like Ralph Keyes allege that people now live in a “post-truth” period. According to the author, this is an era when debates rarely focus on facts or policy, but rather on wild claims and emotions.
Donald Trump, the U.S. Republican presidential candidate, in many cases has been found making misleading or false statements. PolitFact has rated 71 percent of Trump’s statements as false. The presidential candidate this week wrongly advised his supporters to go out and vote on November 28, which is 20 days after the United States’ actual election date.
[Featured Image by David Paul Morris/Getty Images]