Politics isn’t a subject we touch on often here at Techaeris, we prefer to give our tech opinion not our political opinion. But sometimes the two intersect and Google News has just launched a fact checking feature just ahead of the November 2016 election. Fact checking in an election has always been an important part of the process and maybe Google’s tool will prove useful. Personally I always err on the side of caution when companies introduce themselves into an election in this manner. Companies, no matter which, generally have a vested interest in one candidate or the other that’s why political fact checking is a slippery slope but a much needed tool as well.
Over the last several years, fact checking has come into its own. Led by organizations like the International Fact-Checking Network, rigorous fact checks are now conducted by more than 100 active sites, according to the Duke University Reporter’s Lab. They collectively produce many thousands of fact-checks a year, examining claims around urban legends, politics, health, and the media itself.
In the seven years since we started labeling types of articles in Google News (e.g., In-Depth, Opinion, Wikipedia), we’ve heard that many readers enjoy having easy access to a diverse range of content types. Earlier this year, we added a “Local Source” Tag to highlight local coverage of major stories. Today, we’re adding another new tag, “Fact check,” to help readers find fact checking in large news stories. You’ll see the tagged articles in the expanded story box on news.google.com and in the Google News & Weather iOS and Android apps, starting with the U.S. and the U.K.
Google News determines whether an article might contain fact checks in part by looking for the schema.org ClaimReview markup. We also look for sites that follow the commonly accepted criteria for fact checks. Publishers who create fact-checks and would like to see it appear with the “Fact check” tag should use that markup in fact-check articles.
But beyond the 2016 election, the Google News fact checking tool could prove useful for other searches one might do on a daily basis. At least I’m sure hoping this tool will be useful beyond the 2016 election. What do you think of this new Google News feature? Let us know in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.