How far would you go to combat fake news? Microsoft has partnered with third-party startup NewsGuard to warn Edge mobile users about unreliable sites. However, one news site is not particularly pleased with their evaluation from NewsGuard. Mail Online has accused NewsGuard of publishing a “egregiously erroneous classification”.
NewsGuard has given Mail Online a one out of five on the credibility scale. Their mobile warning states, “Proceed with caution: this website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.” They also note that Mail Online have lost a number of legal cases, have attempted to damage reputations, and are not respectful of privacy.
Although this message appears on the Microsoft Edge mobile browser, NewsGuard takes full responsibility for their evaluation. NewsGuard co-founder Steve Brill insisted that their assessments are completely human-generated. He remarked, “We want people to game our system. We are totally transparent. We are not an algorithm.”
NewsGuard provides products that help larger tech companies to battle false information. They used to simply offer a downloadable plug-in, but they are now working directly with clients like Microsoft. This arrangement allows Microsoft to take action against fake news without having to actually determine their own verdicts.
At the moment, NewsGuard and Mail Online are currently discussing the rating. It remains to be seen whether NewsGuard will defend and maintain their evaluation or whether they will give way to Mail Online. NewsGuard’s rating may certainly hurt Mail Online’s reputation. Although few people use the Microsoft Edge mobile browser, Mail Online is one of the world’s largest news outlets. If NewsGuard spreads, Mail Online may see a significant hit in their readership.
Microsoft’s collaboration with NewsGuard supports their Defending Democracy Program. Some of the main goals of the program are to combat disinformation and increase transparency. They believe that their program will help to protect the electoral process.
This past year, Microsoft also launched their AccountGuard initiative to protect elections and political campaigns from cyberattacks. The program is free for candidates, campaign offices, and other political institutions that already use Office 365. Microsoft notifies clients when their accounts are threatened and offers free security training.