One of the biggest problems on the web is the proliferation of fake news. Online services and Internet users alike face the same challenge—trying to discern between what is a legitimate news story and one that is outright false (or a satire). It is not always easy. According to Google, thousands of new articles are published online every minute. To help distinguish fact from fiction, Google is expanding the availability of its Fact Checking tool to search.
Google first introduced its Fact Check tool last October ahead of election day. What it did was allow publishers to show a "Fact Check" tag in Google News for news stories that have been vetted. Readers could be assured that any story accompanied by the tag was legitimate, as the information in the article would have been fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations alike in order to have the tag.
That same tag is now being injected globally into Google's search engine results, and is available in all language.
"For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page. The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim," Google stated in a blog post.
To be clear, this will not be available for every search. Google warns that there may also be search result pages where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions. In that respect, this is not a cure-all to the problem of fake news. However, this is a step in the right direction. Internet users should view this as a tool to help make an informed judgement on an article.
"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. 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," Google added.
Publishers who want to participate must use the Schema.org ClaimrReview markup on the specific pages where they fact check public statements. There is also a "Share the Facts" widget available to publishers that was developed by the Duke University Reporters Lab and Jigsaw.