In a climate where misinformation or disinformation, more commonly known as “fake news,” is a major concern for consumers, Google rolled out a fact-checking service in early April 2017 to help users determine if an article is fake news or not.
What is Google’s Fact-Checking Service and How Does it Work?
When searching in general, or for a news article specifically, Google will display a message underneath an article that has been fact-checked. Users will notice a message that begins with “Fact check by” followed by the organization(s) that has provided the information and a conclusion, which may include “mostly true,” “false,” or “mixture.” It appears that the conclusion depends on multiple factors and may include whether fact-checking organizations agree or disagree on the validity of the information, or whether the information or article contains real and fake information; therefore, the message may say “Fact check by PolitiFact: Mixture”.
Is Google’s Fact-Checking Service Needed?
Of course, given that fake news can be rapidly shared and reach a large audience before corrections can be made, Google’s fact-checking service certainly cannot make matters worse than they already are. However, there are three significant limitations of the service as it currently exists.
1. Google’s fact-checking service relies on reputable fact-checking organizations, but these organizations are few, which can affect how rapidly results are produced. This delay means that consumers may not learn whether the news presented is real or fake in a timely manner.
2. Google’s fact-checking service does not provide results for all news articles.
3. Google’s fact-checking service will not always provide a definitive answer on whether an article is fake news or not because multiple fact checking organizations may not agree on what is fake or real.
Even with these limitations, Google’s fact-checking service is indeed needed and is a step in the right direction to providing news consumers with the tools necessary to make informed decisions on what is real and what is fake. More information on Google’s Fact-Checking service can be found on Google’s Blog at http://blog.google/products/search/fact-check-now-available-google-search-and-news-around-world/