On 09-Apr-2017 In Science & Technology
Recently, fake news has been the centre of a lot of controversies and this issue has played a crucial role in politics all around the globe. World leaders including the current US President Donald Trump have always accused the media of being fake and providing false news. The issue of fake news triggered several controversies regarding manipulation of the users and biased nature of the online data. Now, the world’s largest search engine is taking a stand against “fake news” by rolling out a new feature that places “Fact Check” tag on snippets of articles in its news result. Limited tests have already been executed by the Alphabet Inc. Unit. On Friday, the tech giant expanded the capability to every listing in its news pages the massive search catalogue. Also Read: Stop Google From Recording Everything You Search
If the user asks for information about a subject that is highly contested, then at the top of your search results, Google will serve a page from a fact checker site. Similar to the Google’s policy of showing band discographies and recipes, it is a small breakout box. They will be pulled from fact checking publishers like Snopes and PolitiFact, and display information about the claim, the person who made the claim, and whether it is true or not according to them.
After the heavy criticism that the company and the other internet tech firms help in spreading misinformation and unregulated data, this is the latest sign from Google in response to the mounting pressure.In a blog post, the company said: “These fact checks are not Google's and presented so people can make more informed judgments.” Although Google is not going to entirely give up its usual hands-off approach as the company is giving the responsibility of fact checking to others.
This information won’t be available for every search result, Google said. The company also said that there could be instances where different conclusions will be derived by the same publisher who checked the same claim. Google emphasised on the fact that it is not checking the facts but instead helping users to make a more informed judgment.
"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 explained in a blog post.
There is a rather long proposition of criteria for sites willing to be recognised as a fact checker. They need to add some additional code to their websites. This includes using the Schema.org ClaimReview markup on pages where the analysis of public statements will be done. The sites can also use Share the Facts widget created by Duke University Reporters Lab and the Jigsaw.
The content is also supposed to adhere to the General News Guidelines of Google which includes several rules. This will consist of structured data markup, standards for accountability and transparency and fact checking. The final step will include Google’s algorithm’s decision about whether they are a credible and authoritative source of information.
Google said, "If a publisher or fact check claim does not meet these standards or honour these policies, we may, at our discretion, ignore that site's markup." The traditional news stories will appear as usual, and the fact check box will appear at the top. Users will find same links and publishers as before underneath the story. The company is trying to educate the users about the validity of the claims they might be clicking on.
Google and Facebook have both been facing heat for their part in the speeding growth and widespread distribution of fake news online. Google has previously taken steps to offensive content and rule out false claims, but the issue still prevails.
Adrianne Jeffries previously wrote in her report for The Outline “Google has an excellent reputation, and it’s well-deserved. Mammoth forces of spammers, scammers, and other bad actors are constantly trying to manipulate Google’s search rankings, and yet they remain incredibly useful for users. Yet the company seems willing to take hits to its reputation while also promoting conspiracy theories, bigotry, and misinformation. Why?” UK’s Culture, Media and Sports Committee even ordered a parliamentary inquiry in the case of “fake news” and is now investigating the issue. British newspapers also have also called for deeper lookout in this issue.
This news solution from Google might not eradicate the problem, but it will definitely serve as a counterargument when the claims regarding no action will be made by critics. "As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks and making their own informed opinions.” Company said.