Fact Check now available in Google… [Whose “Facts?”]

Fact Check now available in Google Search and News around the world by Justin Kosslyn and Cong Yu.

From the post:

Google was built to help people find useful information by surfacing the great content that publishers and sites create. This access to high quality information is what drives people to use the web and for contributors to continue to engage and invest in it.

However, with thousands of new articles published online every minute of every day, the amount of content confronting people online can be overwhelming. And unfortunately, not all of it is factual or true, making it hard for people to distinguish fact from fiction. That’s why last October, along with our partners at Jigsaw, we announced that in a few countries we would start enabling publishers to show a “Fact Check” tag in Google News for news stories. This label identifies articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations.

After assessing feedback from both users and publishers, we’re making the Fact Check label in Google News available everywhere, and expanding it into Search globally in all languages. For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page. The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.

And the fact checking criteria?

For publishers to be included in this feature, they must be using the Schema.org ClaimReview markup on the specific pages where they fact check public statements (documentation here), or they can use the Share the Facts widget developed by the Duke University Reporters Lab and Jigsaw. Only publishers that are algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information will qualify for inclusion. Finally, the content must adhere to the general policies that apply to all structured data markup, the Google News Publisher criteria for fact checks, and the standards for accountability and transparency, readability or proper site representation as articulated in our Google News General Guidelines. If a publisher or fact check claim does not meet these standards or honor these policies, we may, at our discretion, ignore that site’s markup.

An impressive 115 separate organizations are approved fact checkers but most of them, the New York Times for example, publish “facts” from the US State Department, US Department of Defense, members of US Congress, White House, and other dubious sources of information.

Not to mention how many times have you read the New York Times supporting:

  • Palestinian Martyrs
  • State destruction of Afro-American homes as retribution for crimes
  • Supporting armed white encampments in traditionally Afro-American neighborhoods


Do you think perhaps the New York Times has a “point of view?”

We all do you know. Have a point of view.

What I find troubling about “fact checking” by Google is that some points of view, such as that of the NYT, are going to be privileged as “facts,” whereas other points of view will not enjoy such a privilege.

Need I mention that not so long ago the entire Middle East was thrown into disarray, a disarray that continues to this day, because the “facts” as judged by the NTY and others, said that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction?

I have no doubt that a fact checking Google at the time would have said it’s a fact that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, at least until years after that had been proven to be false. Everybody who was anybody said it was a fact. Must be true.

As a super-Snopes, if I hear a rumor about Pete Rose and the Baseball Hall of Fame, Google fact checking may be useful.

For more subtle questions, consider whose “facts” in evaluating a Google fact check response.

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