With so much information available on the internet at any moment, it can be easy to get bamboozled by false claims and widespread rumors. It can also be pretty easy to fall for fake or satirical news sites and blogs. To combat this, Google announced earlier in the year it would offer a fact checking option on some of its news stories and searches. Since they implemented this, some Google searches have begun to show fact checking underneath certain results. For instance, if a story is false, an article about your search subject might have text underneath that states the claim, says it’s false, and says which source found it to be false.
Recently, Bing became the newest search engine to incorporate fact-checking into its own search results. Bing, the Microsoft-owned search engine, announced earlier this month that their search engine would follow in Google’s footsteps and work to stop the spread of misinformation. Bing’s new system will work a lot like Google’s. Both search engines rely on the websites and articles having certain markup on the page that indicates the claim and its truthfulness. Bing displays schema.org ClaimReview markup, while Google looks for the same markup, plus a widget called Share the Facts. The search results on both Bing and Google pull their information from this markup when it’s available and make it easier and quicker to verify information.
This all came after Facebook announced last year that it was implementing a way to address the spread of false news through shared articles on their social media platform. Facebook added “It’s a false news story” to its list of options when reporting an article, saying flagged articles would be sent to fact-checking sources for review.
It has been clear for some time now that hoaxes and fake stories can spread quickly and are very difficult to stop. These attempts at stopping the spread of misinformation might do some good once they’re fully working and any kinks have been worked out. Of course, earlier this month, Politico noted that Facebook’s feature didn’t seem to be working, basing their claim on a study from Yale University. Whether Google’s and Bing’s new setup will help or not remains to be seen, but it seems like a huge step toward finding more truthful stories.