Menu
International

New software trying to fight fake news

January 23, 2019 at 2:33pm

NewsGuard, is a browser extension that warns users about untrustworthy news sites.

Founded by journalists Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz, it rates sites based on a variety of criteria including their use of deceptive headlines, whether they repeatedly publish false content, and transparency regarding ownership and financing.

Available for the desktop versions of Chrome, Edge, Safari and Chrome, NewsGuard is, since last week, a main feature on Microsoft Edge’s mobile browser.

Microsoft said that it has no say over the ratings that NewsGuard gives to websites producing or publishing editorial content.

Human NewsGuard analysts check websites to see if they meet a set of journalistic standards, inviting publishers that do not meet those standards to improve to gain a higher trust rating.

Co-founder Steve Brill, told The Guardian: “We want people to game our system. We are totally transparent. We are not an algorithm.” He added that his company has already produced verdicts on the top 2,000 news outlets in the US.

NewsGuard uses nine criteria to determine whether websites meet the basic standards of journalistic accuracy and accountability. A site that fails to adhere to the key all or of the criteria is rated red.

A news or information website is rated green “if its content is produced by people who are trying to communicate news, information, and opinion that they believe is accurate, and who adhere to practices aimed at ensuring basic standards of accuracy and accountability,” NewsGuard’s website writes.

Readers in the UK might be interested to read that The Daily Mail website is rated only one out of five for credibility, more than poor enough to trigger the warning.

The Daily Mail/Mail Online is one of the most popular online sources of news in the UK. It was only overtaken by The Sun as the UK’s most-read print and digital paper in April last year, however it still attracts 31.2 million monthly readers.

NewsGuard is available for Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari browsers. Click here to get NewsGuard for your browser.

It is installed automatically on all mobile editions of Edge.

You can see the credentials and backgrounds of everyone responsible for every NewsGuard rating here.