LONDON: Internet search giant Google has introduced a fact-checking feature in its new section to allow readers to determine whether or not a story is true.
“In the seven years since we started labelling types of articles in Google News (for example, 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 online stories.
Related fact-checking stories will appear on-screen 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. 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 common for online publishers. Organisations such as the International Fact-Checking Network, PolitFact and Full Fact 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 swopped 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 on emotion and wild claims.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has often been found to make false or misleading statements. Politifact has rated 71 percent of his statements as false. This week he wrongly advised his supports to go out and vote on November 28, 20 days after the US elections are actually being held, on November 8. – The Independent