Friday 9 December 2016

One less thing to do yourself: Google introduces fact-checking feature

Google introduces fact checking feature intended to help people see whether news is actually true

Dan Swing

Published 15/10/2016 | 11:03

(Stock picture)
(Stock picture)

Internet search giant Google has introduced a new fact-checking feature in its new section to allow readers to determine whether or not a story is true.

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“In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types,” the company said in an announcement. 

“Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories.”

Through an algorithmic process from schema.org known as ClaimReview, live stories will be linked to fact checking articles and websites. This will allow readers to quickly validate or debunk stories they read online.

Related fact-checking stories will appear onscreen underneath the main headline. The example Google uses shows a headline over passport checks for pregnant women, with a link to Full Fact’s analysis of the issue.

Readers will be able to see if stories are fake or if claims in the headline are false or being exaggerated.

Fact check will initially be available in the UK and US through the Google News site as well as the News & Weather apps for both Android and iOS.

Publishers who wish to become part of the new service can apply to have their sites included.

“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,” the company said.

Fact checking has become increasingly common for online publishers. Organizations such as the International Fact-Checking Network, PolitFact and FullFact analyse claims by politicians and other public speakers to determine if they are true or not.

Facebook has struggled to prevent fake headlines appearing in its own trending news feature. After the company swapped human curators for an algorithm, a fake story about Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly being fired over allegiances to Hilary Clinton caused controversy.

While Google doesn’t name Donald Trump or Brexit explicitly, authors such as Ralph Keyes claim we now live in a “post-truth” era, where debates rarely focus on facts or policy but instead on emotion and wild claims.

Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump has often been found to make false or misleading statements. Politifact has rated 71% of his statements as false. This week he wrongly advised his supports to go out and vote on 28 November, 20 days after the US elections actually being held on 8 November.

(Independent.co.uk)

Independent News Service

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