Sadly, we live in a day and age where fake news is an increasing trend that's arguably generated for political gains and monetary benefits. Facebook and Google have come under the scanner recently for propagating fake news, and the search giant has taken a small step forward towards combating this issue. A few months ago, Google partnered fact checkers to include a ‘fact check’ tag to a news story in Google News for limited users in the US and UK. Today, the company is making this feature available worldwide, and is expanding it to Google Search results as well.
Google will now start showing you whether an article is factually correct or not by tagging it with the 'Fact Check' label in search results. This feature essentially places a fact check tag on search results – to know that the story’s claim is true or false. Google is working with fact checking organisations like PolitiFact and Snopes to enable this feature, but it is also encouraging publishers to fact check each other. This fact check label is one of Google’s first efforts to prevent the spread of misinformation, however, this won’t affect search ranking.
Fact-checked links won’t get any privileges over the others like being boosted in search results; all of that still depends on SEO. Also, it’s worth noting that these fact checks are done by third parties and not Google, so differing opinions can crop up here and there.
“This information won’t be available for every search result, and there may be search result pages where different publishers checked the same claim and reached different conclusions. These fact checks are not Google’s and are presented so people can make more informed judgements. Even though differing conclusions may be presented, we think it’s still helpful for people to understand the degree of consensus around a particular claim and have clear information on which sources agree. As we make fact checks more visible in Search results, we believe people will have an easier time reviewing and assessing these fact checks, and making their own informed opinions,” Google explains in its blog post.
The news websites and the publishers who want to enable fact-checks or are eager to see it appear with the "Fact check" tag have been advised by Google to use the schema.org ClaimReview markup. So, if you are one of the publishers, you can head to Google's help centre to know more on the procedure.
Facebook is also offering tools to combat fake news on its social media platform, and has added tips on how to tell when shared stories are bogus. An initiative being launched in the US, France and a dozen other countries adds an educational tool in an "awareness display" in news feeds. Tips included checking website addresses along with searching out other sources or articles on topics.