With the US Presidential elections just around the corner, Google has introduced a fact checking category to its news service so that users can separate fact from fiction in a ‘post truth’ world.
“Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories, “Google’s blogpost announcement reads.
The fact check feature will be displayed in all searches for news stories by anyone who uses the Google search engine. (virtually everyone who uses the web)
The “Fact check” tag will take its place amongst the other categories the search giant uses to distinguish certain posts within the unending soup of such as “Highly Cited” and “Opinion” with its sole aim to apparently ‘help readers find fact checking in large news stories,” said the blog post.
The date of the release would seem to be squarely aimed at the November election in North America between Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton, though Google itself makes no reference to the upcoming presidential race.
“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, said Richard Gingras, Google’s own head of news:
“Google News determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. 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.”
Fact and Fiction
Google of course, already uses complex algorithms to give users the most accurate source preferences in the way it organises its search rankings. That said, the search giant hasn’t made a feature of labelling false and made up stories before this. This hasn’t stopped Trump from claiming that Google is part of a media elite and is guilty of suppressing bad news about his opponent.
Earlier this year, a former Facebook employee claimed that Facebook curators deliberately ranked news from right wing sources lower than it should have done in its news feed.