There are times where machines aren’t always helpful. In fact, they can get us into trouble sometimes, and it would take humans to help get us out of it. With the likes of the 2016 election and the ongoing manipulation of news by foreign governments and domestic trolls, the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter have been dealing with intensifying criticism and had to face the limitation of their algorithms as arbiters of truth.
These issues are well-documented, but came back to light in the wake of the Las Vegas and Texas church mass shootings. YouTube, Google, as well as others, were duped by parties who sought to spread false information about the identity of the shooters in both cases.
In order to combat the proliferation of fake news and false information in search, Google announced that it’s teaming up with The Trust Project. This project is run by the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University in Northern California, but was originally founded by Craig Newmark of Craigslist.
In a blog post, Google explains:
The Project, which is funded by Google among others, has been working with more than 75 news organizations from around the world to come up with indicators to help people distinguish the difference between quality journalism and promotional content or misinformation.
In a first step, the Project has released eight trust indicators that newsrooms can add to their content. This information will help readers understand more about what type of story they’re reading, who wrote it, and how the article was put together.
These trust indicators includes information on how stories were researched, information about author, as well as the journalistic standards used by the publication in compiling and supporting its stories.
The trust indicators aren’t unlike ranking factors and are largely going to be embedded in structured mark up, allowing Google to read them as it crawls new sites. According to Google, it is still figuring out “how to display these trust indicators next to articles that may appear on Google News, Google Search, and other Google products.”