In the wake of ‘Fake News’, Google (and others), know they have a lot to do to help build trust in the content that appears on their site. The media and public backlash over fake stories trying to dupe people into thinking they are credible news have spurred Google into action.

Before we get into what they have done to address this, let’s have a quick look at the problem they face when addressing fake news. The biggest issue is that Google does not create the content, it is simply found by using their service. This means that Google has to get into an interesting space of trying to judge what is right and what is wrong. A number of pundits have called for Google to simply ban this type of content. However, then, Google has to make decisions on what is right and what is wrong. Sometimes this is obvious, other times, they will be making a judgement call on whether an opinion piece has a right to appear in the search results based on the fact that we fundamentally disagree with the content.

A much better way to deal with misinformation is to arm and educate viewers with the ability to determine for themselves.

This is why the latest feature that Google is working on, has me impressed.

Google is rolling out eight different trust indicators to you to decide if a piece of content is credible or not.

So what are the new trust indicators?

  • Best Practices: Where does funding for the news outlet come from, their mission, and their commitments to ethics, diverse voices, accuracy, making corrections, and other standards.
  • Author Expertise: Details about the journalist.
  • Type of Work: Labels to distinguish opinion, analysis, and advertiser (or sponsored) content from news reports.
  • Citations and References: Access to the sources behind the facts and assertions in a news story.
  • Methods: Process and motivation behind pursuing the story.
  • Locally Sourced: Lets people know that the story has local roots, origin, or expertise.
  • Diverse Voices: A newsroom’s efforts to bring in diverse perspectives.
  • Actionable Feedback: A newsroom’s efforts to engage the public in setting coverage priorities, contributing to the reporting process, and ensuring accuracy.

This has all been made possible through a collaboration with the Trust Project and will be released in the near future.

Nice work Google!