To put it simply, it’s been a wild ride in the press over the last 18 months. It seems we can’t get through a single day without someone claiming “fake news!” There have always been falsified stories in the news, but it has become increasingly more difficult to distinguish between these and legitimate stories as more people cite internet sources, including various social media channels, as their primary or only news outlet.
It has been widely speculated that the 2016 U.S. presidential election spurred an explosion of fake news stories from both sides of the political aisle in an attempt to sway voters. People are misinformed, journalists are exasperated, and we’re all just a little sick of it. In response, Google is trying to help us out with a new fact checking feature. Huzzah!
Yup. Google began testing this new feature right before election day but had yet to roll it out en masse. Last month, they released it across search results worldwide, but you may not see it everywhere just yet. Websites have to add the feature to their code to have their content verified and there’s no telling how many will jump onboard and how quickly.
How Does it Work?
As of now, several news outlets have implemented the new code. For example, PolitiFact articles can be fact checked when you enter a search query related to their posts. A recent TedTalk claimed that 27 million people worldwide are enslaved in one way or another. When you type “27 million people enslaved” the PolitiFact article comes up with “Is this true?” underneath the result. Next to it you will find that it says “mostly true.” Other articles give a “not true,” “false,” or “true” result. Another participating outlet is Snopes.