Google has a number of tools at its disposal in the war against fake news, and one of those tools, being a special tag to indicate news stories that have been fact checked, is making its way to more countries. Google took to their blog to announce that the feature will be hitting Google News and the News section of Google Search for users in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina. This rollout brings the total number of countries enjoying clearly marked fact-checked articles in Google to seven, including the US, the UK, France, and Germany. Users in affected countries will find fact checked stories marked as of this writing.
The fact check tagging featured debuted in the US and UK back in October, backed by Schema.org’s ClaimReview markup tool and based on a special algorithm that checks around for fact checks on an article and sources them to determine if the article is authentic or not. The tag shows in the expanded view for news stories in place of the usual category listing that would show whether an article is satirical, a Wikipedia article, an opinion piece, and so on. The feature is available on both desktop and mobile for users in countries where it’s been rolled out thus far, and Google plans to further expand the tool to help fight the spread of fake news and aid in keeping the global population well-informed.
This expansion is set against the backdrop of a long, hard-fought battle against the proliferation of fake news, a battle that companies like Google and Facebook are still fighting. Some take a somewhat relaxed stance in order to avoid being accused of censorship, like Facebook and their recent statement that they do not plan to hinder users who wish to knowingly share fake news with their friends, while others take a more bold stance against the phenomenon. The fact check tool from Google seems to be here to stay, and it strikes a definitive middle ground between letting fake news fly and encouraging censorship by helping users to value the content set before them and determine what they should or shouldn’t take from it.