With US elections around the corner, there has been a global debate and urgent need about quantifying and wetting facts quoted all around the web. There is no reliable way currently in which a user can cross-check an information he is consuming online in real-time. The popular way is to make a google search to cross-check something, but that also throws a lot of listed links back at you which are difficult to judge. People usually presume that a branded source of information would most likely be credible. Now google has come up with a way to strengthen this presumption of users by providing a fact-check verification with its indexed links.
Facebook has recently been doing a fairly poor job of filtering out non-factual information floating around the social giant. Facebook’s news section came under a lot of fire after it was found to contain a lot of false, inaccurate and potentially offensive stories.
Google’s is going to highlight pages in Google News that fit the criteria for fact-checking. Google will now pull articles from fact checking websites, of which there are more than 100 around the world. These sites collectively produce many thousands of fact-checks a year, examining claims around urban legends, politics, health, and the media. There is strictly defined criteria for sites to get classified in this category.
Fact check sites tend to use a particular type of computer code, which google will use to determine if an article contains fact checks. It will also scan the sites to see if they follow widely accepted criteria for such pieces. Sites that want their articles to be eligible just have to add a certain kind of formatting to their pages, as specified by Schema.org, an open community sponsored by Google.
For publishers working on honest and unbiased coverage and reporting, this is a win-win situation. Google will cross-verify the content of the articles present on the publisher pages and classify them as fact-checked. A fact-checked article would have a listing advantage in the ranking of google news. Also, there would be link to verify a fact quoted in the article
While this is currently at the launch in US and UK only, it has to be seen when it launches in the Indian market as well. Publishers, in the meantime, have an opportunity to prepare themselves for the coming advance in technology. There is an excitement to see the growth of the Fact Check community and to its efforts to divide fact from fiction, wisdom from spin.