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Google to display fact-checking labels to show if news is true or false

Google is to start displaying fact-checking labels in its search results to highlight news and information that has been vetted. As part of its efforts to help combat the spread of misinformation and fake news. The fact-checking feature will now be displayed as an information box in general search results. The small snippets display information about the claim made by a particular page or site and who made the claim.

The fact checks are not performed by Google, but by named trusted publishers and fact-checkers using an open system to mark claims as having been checked. Fact check boxes will not be displayed for every search result. Only publishers that are “algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information” will be included in the program.

The UK government recently urged US firms, including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft, to do more to police their platforms. The spread of false information is not a new problem, but has been amplified by the ease of publishing. The barrier to entry is small and the volume of content high, leading to an expanding issue across multiple platforms and outlets. Research from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism in June 2016 found that Facebook was the primary news source for 18-to-24-year-olds. In August, the social network site became embroiled in a fake news storm after sacking editorial staff controlling its trending topics news feed.

Facebook recently began trialling a service that flags stories shared on the social media site as “disputed”. On Thursday Facebook also published a tool it hoped would help educate the public on how to spot fake news.

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