Google now has a fact check feature which will help readers to distinguish content from bonafide sources from those that have not been verified and therefore of dubious authenticity. Search results will now highlight authoritative sources with a summary of claims that have been fact-checked.
Google will not be fact-checking news content itself but rather using an algorithm to judge the authoritativeness of websites. The fact check feature has been functional on Google’s News search site since last October but is now being added to regular search results.
Going forward, a summary of the fact-checked statements and whether they are judged to be true or false will be displayed. The order in which the search results are displayed will not be affected and websites displaying false information will not be labeled negatively. Google recognizes that the veracity of news stories or statements may be accepted or rejected by different publishers but the tool would indicate the degree of consensus on the content in question.
Google are, in fact, following the example of Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook who had categorically stated that he does not want people to make judgments on the trustworthiness of websites and therefore he would be using algorithms. These may not always be reliable however.
Google also stated that it would display conflicting fact checks side by side for websites. People therefore would be left to make their own conclusions but they would at least not accept everything they read online at face value. Google’s motivation for introducing the tool may have come about from increasing pressure for internet firms to do more to halt the spread of fake news. The feature will not however be available for all search results. Publishers wanting to avail of the fact check feature would simply need to add some additional code to their websites.