In an effort to fight the spread of fake news, Microsoft has partnered with news fact-checking startup NewsGuard to alert users of Edger Mobile browser if they are visiting an untrustworthy website. The optional setting places a banner on the website with a warning to proceed with caution if the website cannot be trusted.
The feature was spotted after users visiting popular news site DailyMail.co.uk received the warning seen above. NewsGuard rates websites on a number of criteria, including the use of deceptive headlines, repeatedly publishing false content and transparency regarding ownership and financing to determine if they are trustworthy.
The fake news alert first made a debut on Microsoft Edge desktop browser as a downloadable extension. The decision to build the feature into their mobile browser shines some light on the company’s future endeavours into fighting fake news – a feature that would especially be useful during certain seasons like election period.
The startup behind the idea, NewsGuard, is run by journalists Steven Brill and Gordon Crovitz. According to them, NewsGuard is in the process of establishing benchmarks for which news websites should be trusted. The company has on the meantime been using analysts to manually check whether sites meet a series of journalistic standards, making all its judgments public, giving the rated news websites the option of responding to the criticism and possibly bettering their rating by making changes.