Google expands 'fact check' info in news searches

Google will expand the use of “fact check” tags in its search results — the tech industry’s latest effort to combat false and misleading news stories.

People who search for a topic in Google’s main search engine or the Google News section will see a conclusion such as “mostly true” or “false” next to stories that have been fact checked.

Google has been working with more than 100 news organizations and fact-checking groups, including The Associated Press, the BBC and NPR. Their conclusions will appear in search results as long as they meet certain formatting criteria for automation.

Google fact check Snopes on Squirrel Girl

A Google result for a fake news story alleging a woman was arrested for training squirrels to attack her ex-boyfriend is listed as false by online fact checking website Snopes.com. (Google)

Google said only a few of those organizations, including PolitiFact and Snopes.com, have already met those requirements. But the company said it expects that number to grow following Friday’s announcement.

Fighting fake news

Not all news stories will be fact checked. Multiple organizations may reach different conclusions; Google will show those separately.

Google started offering fact check tags in the U.S. and the U.K. in October and expanded the program to a handful of other countries in the subsequent months. Now, the program is open to the rest of the world and to all languages.

False news and misinformation, often masquerading as trustworthy news and spreading on social media, has gained attention since the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Google’s announcement comes a day after Facebook launched a resource to help users spot false news and misleading information that spreads on its service. The resource is basically a notification that pops up for a few days. Clicking on it takes people to tips and other information on how to spot false news and what to do about it.

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