Google rolls out fact-checking features to help spot misinformation

1 Apr 2022

Image: © Chinnapong/Stock.adobe.com

Google shared details of its new resource page for users and partnerships it has created with fact-checking organisations.

Google is looking to help its users spot misinformation and check the facts more clearly on developing news stories.

The company has created a new resource page with pointers to help users navigate information they find in online searches. This includes searching the author of an article to get a sense of their credibility, or checking the publication date to make sure a news story still relevant.

Future Human

Google product manager Nidhi Hebbar explained in a blog post this week: “The widespread availability of information – from all different kinds of sources – is great for learning new facts and perspectives from around the world. But it can also make it difficult to sort out what information is credible and what isn’t.”

Another new feature being launched on Google is a label to identify stories that have been frequently cited by other news organisations. This is designed to help readers find their way back to original sources of information.

Hebbar said the tech giant is hopeful this feature will elevate original reporting, by leading people to the reporters who conducted an investigation, for example.

“The highly cited label is launching soon on mobile in English for the US and will roll out globally in the coming weeks,” Hebbar added.

In the lead up to International Fact-Checking Day, which takes place tomorrow (2 April), Google suggested its users utilise the Fact Check Explorer. This tool lets users search about different topics they have questions about, and Google said it collects more than 150,000 fact checks from “reputable publishers” around the world.

Supporting global fact checkers

Google has also partnered with a number of fact-checking organisations globally to bolster efforts to deal with misinformation. This includes a collaboration with the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) at the non-profit Poynter Institute.

This partnership is designed to provide training and resources to fact checkers and industry experts around the world, and Google said the IFCN will create a new programme to help collaboration, support fact checkers against harassment and host training workshops.

Google is also working with the collaborative network LatamChequea to train 500 new fact checkers in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

Events such as the Covid-19 pandemic and the US Capitol riots in January 2021 flung online misinformation into the sphere of public debate, with many online platforms taking action on misleading or inaccurate info, whether posted deliberately or otherwise.

Misinformation has come to the fore again with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, as people have reported seeing misleading, manipulated or false information about the conflict on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

10 things you need to know direct to your inbox every weekday. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of essential sci-tech news.

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com