Google News just got a useful new tool for fact-checking, just in time for Election Day. The feature will appear in searches for news stories.
The U.S. presidential election has been quite a ride so far, riddled with misinformation, false articles and outright lies, and Google wants to help people get their facts straight instead of believing everything they read online.
Because not everything you find on the internet is true, Google's new "fact check" label will now be prominently displayed in expanded story boxes both on the website and mobile versions of Google News. Other labels such as "highly cited" and "opinion" will also appear.
How Does It Work?
For this fact-checking process, Google relies on its Claim Review to algorithmically determine whether a given story could use a fact check. Sources that "follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks" will be highlighted.
"Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the 'Fact check' tag should use that markup in fact-check articles," Google notes, pointing at its help center for more information.
"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," adds the company.
The new fact-check feature is currently available for Google News in the United States and the UK.
Your Move, Facebook
Considering the great amount of misinformation related, but not limited to the U.S. presidential election, Google's new fact-check tool seems more like a necessity than an optional feature. That said, it will be interesting to see whether other companies will follow suit and offer similar tools to help users discern facts from fiction.
Facebook, for instance, is becoming an increasingly prominent source of news and many internet users get their information from the social network. However, Facebook has yet to implement a more rigorous fact-checking process and it has recently drawn criticism for promoting fake news stories via its "Trending Topics" algorithm.
Facebook altered its Trending Topics back in May after being accused of being biased against conservative views, and eventually opted for more automation that removed descriptions from the equation in order to avoid such accusations of bias.
Nevertheless, a slew of news stories are still circulated on Facebook and not all of them are entirely accurate, or even remotely true. Google is taking a step toward fact-checked information, but it remains to be seen whether Facebook and others will employ a similar strategy.