As the leading search engine on the web—and as a major technology company, in general—Google is now adding a special fact-checking tag that improves search results across the globe. This, of course, is the latest initiative to help reduce the spread of “fake news” (misinformation), the company explains.
These new tags will be available in all languages so that all users, worldwide, can use third-party fact-checkers to let others know if the news they have read, submitted, contributed, or found is true or false (or maybe even a mix of both).
In a blog post, Google said, “For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page.”
The blog post continues, “The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.”
Now, this new information will not necessarily be available for all content on the web, not present in every search result, but the attempt is quite a noble one. There may also be conflicting conclusions in some cases, Google advises. After, all, Google is not performing the fact checks themselves.
Still, the company commands, “Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree.”
To make this happen, Google has collaborated with 115 fact-checking entities all over the world; and the announcement came only one day after Facebook added new tools to its news feed feature that would help users discern whether the shared stories on their timelines were true or false (or, perhaps more accurately, to what degree).
It is no surprise that “fake new” has become quite the serious issue, particularly when you look at stories covering last year’s presidential election race; a time when very clearly fraudulent stories circumnavigated the globe via social media.
Glenn Kessler writes “The Fact Checker” column for the Washington Post and he said, in an email, that Google’s efforts should, at the very least, “make it easier for people around the world to obtain information that counters the spin by politicians and political advocacy groups, as well as purveyors of ‘fake news.’”