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Google fact checking tag to combat fake news in South America

Google has expanded its fact checking tag for Google News to Brazil, Mexico and Argentina, after having introduced it in France and Germany in October last year. The company had earlier added labels like local, satire and user-generated ones, and added the fact check tag later, to stop fake news from propagating.

The feature is live on Google News in browsers, and on Google News and Weather on iOS and Android apps. The tag will also be visible in the news mode search, i.e when clicking the ‘news’ section after a regular search. Interestingly, yesterday, Google’s chief business officer, Philipp Schindler had said that “We have to take the fake news problem very, very seriously and think about what we can do there.”

Google has been very active in recent times about cracking down on fake news – it recently also launched CrossCheck, a joint project to debunk fake news related to the upcoming French elections. Additionally, it currently supports 10 projects looking at fact checking and authentication across UK, Scotland, Italy and Norway, so we expect these countries will see the launch of fact checking tags next. Google had also kicked off 200 publishers from its ad networks last quarter, partly to address the fake news problem.

Note that Google is not the only company working on authenticating news – last month Facebook rolled out its fake news filter in Germany, a month after launching in the US. The feature lets users tag fake news as fake, warn others, or block users sharing such news. Facebook would also evaluate the reported news in partnership with independent fact-checking organizations.

Major news sources, like Google and Facebook, have come under flak for false stories – like the one about the Pope endorsing Donald Trump before the election which outperformed real news – for adversely affecting fair elections, and in general spreading misinformation which has significantly impacted national policies. As such, tackling fake news has become a serious issue, and with regulators in various countries warning companies over fake news, companies have started taking action.

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