Google News rolling out fact check tag ahead of US election

14 Oct 2016

Image: enterlinedesign/Shutterstock

In the hope of limiting the spread of false information, Google News is rolling out a fact check tag to help newsreaders find quick access to articles that fact check spin and propaganda.

The ability to fact check the news in real time has been something of a problem for politicians making outlandish claims at debates; so much so, that US presidential nominee Hillary Clinton runs her own fact-checking page about her rival Donald Trump.

The same goes for Google News, one of the largest news aggregators online, that will now try to shine a light through the fog of misleading headlines using its tagging system.

Future Human

Much like when it identifies an opinion piece or a highly cited source, stories that feature in-depth or quick fact checks of claims made by organisations or politicians will have their own ‘Fact Check’ label.

In a blog post, Google’s head of news Richard Gingras said that Google News now determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the ClaimReview markup.

Google News also looks for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks.

There are a few criteria that Google lists for publishers to follow in order to get their fact-checking content listed on Google News.

Face Check example

An example of Fact Check in action. Image: Google

Rocky relationship

Discrete claims and checks must be easily identified in the body of fact-check articles for readers to understand what was checked, and what conclusions were reached.

In the case of Hillary Clinton running her own fact-checking page, it would not be eligible to be listed under the fact check tag as it must be nonpartisan, with transparent funding and affiliations.

It isn’t widespread just yet, with the UK and US the first countries to try it, but Google plans to roll out the tag to other countries in the coming months.

“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,” Gingras said.

Major tech companies and news have not had a steady relationship of late, particularly Facebook, who took steps to firing its human news aggregators over claims that it demoted conservative news in its Trending section.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic