Google expands fact checking to help tackle fake news

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It's something that should delight Donald Trump -- Google is helping to fight fake news. Whether the company's move to help keep web users better informed is in keeping with the US president's penchant for "alternative facts" remains to be seen, but for everyone else it is great news.

Google is far from being the first technology company to lend its support to the fake news fighting army -- Facebook and the BBC are already doing their bit too. The expansion of Google News fact checking means that the Fact Check label is spreading further around the globe, giving people in more parts of the world the assurance that what they're reading has been verified.

It's only a few months since Google introduced the Fact Check label in some markets, starting off in the US and UK before spreading to France and Germany. Now the scheme is rolling out to Brazil, Mexico and Argentina on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps.

Google says that it also supports a number of projects around the world that are designed to help with authentication and fact checking:

  •  UK-based Full Fact is building an automated fact-checker tailored for journalists.
  • Scotland's the Ferret is using funding to build up a formal fact checking operation in their newsroom in the wake of the EU referendum.
  • Factmata, developed at University College London and University of Sheffield, will use machine learning to build tools to help readers better understand claims made in digital media content, such as news articles and political speech transcripts.
  • In Italy, Catch's team of scientists and media analysts, has created Compass, a fact checking platform to call out misleading stories, rebut bad facts and connect news events to reliable information.
  • In France, Le Monde's 13-person fact checking unit called Les Décodeurs has received funding for their Hoaxbuster Decodex project.
  • Norway's ambitious Leserkritikk ("Reader Critic") project, currently running its prototype on Dagbladet.no, lets readers give specific and structured feedback on facts, language and mistakes in published content.

In order for Fact Checking to be particularly effective, publishers are encouraged to use the ClaimReview schema. Google says:

Publishers who would like to see their work appear with the Fact Check tag should use the open ClaimReview schema from schema.org in their stories. Adding this markup allows Google to find these stories and highlight the fact checking work that has gone into them. For more information, head on over to our help center.

Image credit: Mega Pixel / Shutterstock

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