Misinformation is a never-ending problem on the internet, and Big Tech companies are always looking for new ways to tackle it. On Thursday, Google announced its latest feature to tackle the spread of fake news online: A new “highly cited” label.
So what is this much-quoted label and where will it appear? According to Google, this new tag will appear on frequently cited news stories by other media outlets covering the same story. In its announcement, the search giant gave an example of an exclusive local report that is picked up by many national outlets that continue to cover the story. Google search will highlight the original article from the local media at the top of the search results page when users search for the story and apply the most-cited tag to that original story.
An example of the much-cited label in action.
This is actually a very useful new feature. Users looking for breaking news information will be able to find the original report, regardless of how many major media outlets picked it up. Sometimes in these summaries or rewrites from other outlets, crucial context or details may be omitted that appear in the original report.
The new feature also rewards original reports. If the new feature works as expected, journalists’ original work will be seen by more people, regardless of competition from outlets with greater reach or better search engine optimization.
Google says the much-cited new label feature will be rolling out over the next few weeks.
Ahead of International Fact-Checking Day (April 2), Google has also compiled some tips to find legitimate sources and improve your media literacy skills.