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Google rolls out Fact Check tag across search and news

Google introduced Fact Check tag across its search and news products globally across all languages Friday, the company announced in a blog. Google first introduced the Fact Check tag across US and UK in October last year. This is a big day for fact-checkers on the Internet. Hours before Google made its announcement, Facebook made public plans of paying fact-checkers.

“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 company wrote on its blog.

How is Google Fact Check tag different from Facebook’s disputed tag

News organizations can now, theoretically, use Google’s new feature to fact-check each other or give different verdicts on the veracity of the same article.

How Google determines a fact check

  • The publisher of the fact check must be a trusted source of information (determined by an algorithm)
  • The content must clearly tell:
    • Which claims are being checked
    • Conclusions about the claims
    • How conclusions were reached
    • Citations and primary sources of information

Fake news on the Internet

In the last two years, fake news has turned into a controversial subject on the Internet. After Donald Trump’s election as the US president, it is now being seen as a threat to democracy across the globe.

According to Prashant Singh, VP Product, of Paytm: Blogging and self-publishing started a trend which was fuelled by the advent of social web and smartphone. Instead of traversing the Internet from webpage to webpage, people started traversing from one person to another. Behavior like Back-linking and Bookmarking got replaced with Follow, Subscribe, Share, Rate and Like. Eyeballs shifted to Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Distribution and creation of content became democratized and more importantly, decentralized. The genie was out of the bottle. Decentralized content creation means a decentralized and diffused responsibility of ensuring authenticity. The stage was set for the emergence of Fake News.

Speaking at a Medianama event earlier this year, Nasr Ul Hadi, ICFJ Knight Fellow, suggested: “There will not be a single solution, there will be a portfolio of solutions speaking to multiple sources of misinformation.” Google and Facebook’s move is in that direction, where each platform is trying to address the issue with their own set of approaches and tools.

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