Google expands ‘fact check’ conclusions in news searches
NEW YORK — Google will expand the use of “fact check” tags in its search results — the tech industry’s latest effort to combat false and misleading news stories.
People who search for a topic in Google’s main search engine or the Google News section will see a conclusion such as “mostly true” or “false” next to stories that have been fact checked.
Google has been working with more than 100 news organizations and fact-checking groups , including The Associated Press, the BBC and NPR. Their conclusions will appear in search results as long as they meet certain formatting criteria for automation.
Google said only a few of those organizations, including PolitiFact and Snopes.com, have already met those requirements. But the company said it expects that number to grow following Friday’s announcement.
Not all news stories will be fact checked. Multiple organizations may reach different conclusions; Google will show those separately.
Google started offering fact check tags in the U.S. and the U.K. in October and expanded the program to a handful of other countries in the subsequent months. Now, the program is open to the rest of the world and to all languages.
False news and misinformation, often masquerading as trustworthy news and spreading on social media, has gained attention since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Google’s announcement comes a day after Facebook launched a resource to help users spot false news and misleading information that spreads on its service. The resource is basically a notification that pops up for a few days. Clicking on it takes people to tips and other information on how to spot false news and what to do about it.
page,” Google said in a blog post.
“The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.”
The information won’t be available for every search result, and there may be conflicting conclusions in some cases, Google said in the blog post, from researcher Cong Yu and Justin Kosslyn of Google’s sister company Jigsaw.
“These fact checks are not Google’s and are presented so people can make more informed judgments,” it said.
“Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree.”
Google has worked with 115 fact-checking groups worldwide for the initiative, which began last year.
The move came a day after Facebook added a new tool in news feeds to help users determine whether shared stories are real or bogus.
Fake news became a serious issue in last year’s US election campaign, when clearly fraudulent stories circulated on social media, potentially swaying some voters.
Concerns have been raised since then about hoaxes and misinformation affecting elections in Europe this year, with investigations showing how “click farms” generate revenue from online advertising using made-up news stories.
The moves by both firms aim to change the way news is ranked, diminishing the importance of how often a particular story is shared or clicked on.