While Google made no specific mention of the U.S elections, the company announced that it would add a fact check tab to its Google News offerings. The last addition of a tab was “Local Source” which joined “In-Depth,” “Opinion,” “Wikipedia” and a number of others.
Growth of fact checking organizations warrants new “Fact Check” tag
According to Google, fact checking sources on the internet have been growing at a rapid rate in recent years led by organizations like International Fact-Checking Network and Duke University Reporter’s Lab among a host of others dedicated to distilling truth in the new that we read. Often, these groups work on conspiracy theories and urban legends, science and health as well as, of course, politics.
Once again, when Google announced the new tag, there was no mention of the presidential race and races at all levels of government, which will be largely decided on the second Tuesday of November, the eighth.
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Politics is a minefield of lies and while some politicians craving the same position as their opponent might stretch the truth or offer a misleading statement, there is a good chance even the more honest of the two vying for the same job, will likely get caught in a whopper or two. This is not to say that people won’t vote for their candidate regardless of the lies that he or she has told. For some, there is something “OK” about a politician lying to them and it’s viewed by some as simply par for the course.
Take this year’s presidential election, it’s pretty clear from voting records that Secretary Clinton favored the invasion of Iraq when she voted for it as the junior Senator from New York. Donald Trump has repeatedly said that he didn’t support the war, despite the fact that he is on tape talking to Howard Stern during his radio show saying that he supported the invasion of Iraq. Yet, for many supporters, it just doesn’t matter, Hillary Clinton must be stopped and if it takes lies….well, so be it.
But for others, fact checking organizations and news sources are important and welcome. The average person doesn’t have time to research all the claims made by politicians but they welcome a boiled-down, unbiased look at statements made by each candidate following, say, one of the two presidential debates that have taken place in recent weeks.
With the addition of the fact check tag, Google News users will find it easier to locate and article on a given topic which will dissect the veracity of truth (or lies) on the subject.
Fact Check won’t change the world, but it’s nice to have
Using something called Claim Review, Google will use the algorithms it’s famous for and uses to rank pages in search results, to link fact checked articles with the topic that users are interested in and caused their search or their preset preferences for news.
In announcing the new feature, Google said in a blog post that “We’re excited to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to shine a light on its efforts to divine fact from fiction, wisdom from spin.”
For now, the future will be available in the US and the UK until additional countries are added, but is available on both iOS devices as well as is its own Android.
Google has taken flak in the past for seeing its search algorithms promote fake news and the company is clearly concerned about this given the millions that depend on Google News. It’s a shame that Facebook hasn’t taken this step as recent studies have shown that for many the news they read is solely curated by the world’s largest social network.