Published: Sat, November 18, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Ellis Neal

Facebook, Google, Twitter to fight fake news with 'trust indicators'

Facebook, Google, Twitter to fight fake news with 'trust indicators'

Users can tap the icon to reveal information about the publisher as set out by The Trust Project.

Taking on board a "diverse spectrum of public voices" the project created Trust Indicators that determine the quality of a piece of news based on the news outlet, author, and general integrity behind the writing.

The fake news controversy that came to a head during last year's election cycle has continued through 2017, shaking consumer confidence in online news sources.

"The Trust Project" is led by award-winning journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University's Markkula Centre for Applied Ethics.

Initial media sites who have begun to start using the indicators beyond The Post include more than 75 news organizations including, The Economist, The Globe and Mail, Trinity Mirror, the Independent Journal Review, German news agency dpa, and Italy's la Repubblica and La Stampa.

"At a time when the public's trust in news is declining in much of the world, the news industry is launching a new set of transparency standards that help people easily assess the quality and reliability of journalism", the Trust Project said in a November 16 statement.

Here's how that's going to work, according to the Trust Project: On Facebook, news articles will have icons next to them. They offer more information about the publisher behind that story. "Once we've done that, we can analyze the information and present it directly to the user in our various products".

"News consumers need a way to tell media companies what we expect from them, the types of news we can count on and will pay for", said craigslist founder Craig Newmark, an early supporter of the effort. "Some possible treatments could include using the "Type of Work" indicator to improve the accuracy of article labels in Google News, and indicators such as "Best Practices" and "Author Info" in our Knowledge Panels", he said.

Starting today, we will begin to test displaying new publisher Trust Indicators through this module, established by the Trust Project, an global consortium of news and digital companies collaborating to build a more trustworthy and trusted press, as part of our ongoing efforts to enhance people's understanding of the sources and trustworthiness of news on our platform. The way the program works is publishers will now have the ability to add information about their ethics policy, corrections policy, fact-checking policy, ownership structure, and masthead via their Page Publishing Tools.

We are initially testing these Trust Indicators with a small group of publishers, with plans to expand more broadly over the coming months. The company will broaden the number of trust indicators that will be available for clicking on New Feed.

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