Google rolls out fact-checking labels on news stories and search results to help 'distinguish fact from fiction'

Google is rolling out fact-checking labels on news stories and search results worldwide and in all languages, the digital giant announced today.

The labels will identify articles containing information that has been assessed by a community of 115 fact-checking organisations, Google said in a blog post.

“The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim,” it said.

Google said of the reasons behind the move: “Google was built to help people find useful information by surfacing the great content that publishers and sites create…

“With thousands of new articles published online every minute of every day, the amount of content confronting people online can be overwhelming. And unfortunately not all of it is factual or true, making it hard for people to distinguish fact from fiction.”

Google first announced plans to include fact-checking labels in Google News stories for “a few countries” in October of last year.

It said today: “After assessing feedback from both users and publishers, we’re making the Fact Check label in Google News available everywhere, and expanding it into Search globally in all languages.

“For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one of more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page.”

But, it added: “This information won’t be available for every search result, and there may be search results pages where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions.

“These fact checks are not Google’s and are presented so people can make more informed judgements.

“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.

“As we make fact checks more visible in search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these facts, and making their own informed opinions.”

The move comes as Facebook also introduces new measures to combat the rise of “fake news”.

The social media network is sharing top tips for spotting hoax stories with its users today and over the weekend in an official notification that takes users to the resource when clicked on.

In a blog post yesterday, Facebook’s News Feed vice president Adam Mosseri said the platform was working to “fight the spread of false news in three key areas” including:

  • disrupting economic incentives because most false news is financially motivated
  • building new products to curb the spread of false news
  • helping people make more informed decisions when they encounter false news.

The UK government is carrying out an inquiry into “fake news” which closes to written submissions on 3 March.

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