Google rolling out feature to fact check articles

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Google is following Facebook in providing fact-check articles with greater visibility in order to help users distinguish misinformation from reliable information.

The new Fact Check tag was for Google News stories only, but Google is expanding it into Search globally and for all languages.

Although Google is working with established fact-checking organizations, like PolitiFact and Snopes, it's also opening up the system to publishers including The Washington Post and The New York Times.

Fact Check first rolled out in October previous year in the United States and UK search engine. Clicking through to that article would show you that that number was researched and found to be in line with worldwide human rights organizations' research and estimates.

The fact-checking feature, which was first introduced to Google News in the United Kingdom and USA in October, will now be displayed as an information box in general search results as well as news search results globally.

The system is far from flawless, though.

While any publisher can apply to add fact-check labels to content, Google search algorithms will determine whether they appear in results, a spokeswoman said.

A recent example of just how far Google is willing to go to preserve the "spectrum" of opinions can be found in recent criticism of climate change deniers appearing at the top of search results for the Great Barrier Reef.

Users are told to expect conflicting fact-checking conclusions for some search results. Google faces the same challenge here as with ranking search results: it wants to be as transparent as possible without providing enough information to allow sites to manipulate the results.

"The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim", Justin Kosslyn, product manager of Jigsaw, Google's technology incubator, and Cong Yu, a research scientist, wrote on an official Google blog post.

It's worth noting that this isn't fact-checked by Google. The publishers using the fact check feature would have to deploy Schema.org ClaimReview markup on the web pages where they fact-check public statements.

Only publishers that are algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information will qualify for inclusion.

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