Google News has moved to make sure teeming readers that use the site for news around the world are not unduly misinformed especially for news related to the US and UK versions of the website.
The new feature was announced two days ago and it is simply called ‘Fact Check.’
Observers of all things politics belief the new feature was introduced mostly as a result of the acrimony generated by the forth coming US general election.
Outright lies and misinformation have been thrown about during the campaign in what is seen as the most dirtiest elections ever. One of the candidates, Donald Trump, is the most implicated in this practice.
The new Fact Check feature is therefore an attempt to let readers compare a particular news item with the real facts. For instance, if one of the big news of the day is reporting that 1000 babies died in New York’s hospital’s as a result of the shoddy health policies of the administration, Google News would present a a different link, beside a Fact Check sub-heading and below the main news, to direct users to check up on how many babies actually died in New York hospitals.
Fact Check is important for so many reasons. The immediate and clear reason I can think of is that it would serve to clear the cobwebs from issues and help separate lies from fact.
I think important public figures who talk without thinking would start been careful with the stuff they release to the public.
Google News, launched in 2002, has become an important source of news for many people around the world. The algorithm aggregates news from websites around the world. It does a good job of categorizing similar news in different subjects or topics.
Simply put, Google News is the place to go if you need to know what is going on around the world.
Unfortunately for Facebook, they have been sucked in by the the launch of Fact Check. Facebook Trending News was mired in controversy when it emerged that Facebook were bias in the sort of news items they push to People’s News Feeds.
Facebook was forced to reorganize the News Feed and Trending News team to address these concerns. But a recent report show that Facebook Trending News are still full of false and inaccurate news stories.
So would Facebook revamped the team again and introduce something like Google’s Fact Check?
Been under the spotlight because your rival is doing something good is not a very good feeling. Facebook would be hoping this issue doesn’t explode again like before.
According to the Google News team, ‘Google news determines whether whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the ‘Fact Check’ tag should use that markup in fact check articles.‘
Hopefully, Fact Check would usher in a new era in how media outfits, websites and blogs push stories out to their readers. In the light of day, the fact remains that many websites no matter how reputable get a lot of traffic because they are featured on Google News.
Imagine the loss of credibly if a news item is called out as being full of lies or misinformation by Fact Check?
In the age of fierce competition among websites for visitors, would they have time to check up on the accuracy of news item before publishing?
Time would tell if Fact check actually makes a difference to online journalism.
image credit: blogqpot.com; blog.google; theverge.com