Don’t believe everything you read online …. Easier said than done, right?
As online-content consumers we are inundated every day with news and information. Figuring out whether something is truthful or not isn’t always the easiest task. But, there’s hope on the horizon … and Google appears to be leading the charge.
Built as an effort to fight the battle of fake news, Google is rolling out its fact-check feature in search and news results, partnering up with nonpartisan websites like PolitiFact and Snopes. These sites, and many others, help determine the validity of statements and show these results to users searching for that information online. In this blog post we’ll discuss a bit more about Google Fact Check and what it means for your business’ or client’s online efforts.
What is Google Fact Check?
Google’s Fact Check is a feature appended to Google search results which indicates or marks if a search result has been deemed worthy of the label “fact check” after meeting criteria established by third parties like PolitiFact, Snopes, and the Fact Check community. Google will present a link to PolitiFact or Snopes fact-check research and indicate whether that site deemed the information true or false. Google uses credible sources from all over the world, in addition to PolitiFact and Snopes.
Schema.org, Jigsaw, and Reporter’s Lab each played a pivotal role in releasing the new fact-checking feature. A triple-check process includes ClaimReview markup being validated by Schema or the Share the Facts widget, adhering to Google News General Guideline, as well as being ‘algorithmically determined to be an authoritative source of information.’
Spreading Fake News
Sites like Google and Facebook have recently come under fire, blamed for helping to spread fake and offensive news and further misinforming the public. Specifically, Google was blamed for showing a Neo-Nazi website as a top result when users would search for information about whether the Holocaust even happened.
It’s clear that results like these must be controlled and exposed as false, but how? And, who is really responsible?
Experts argue that, because Google writes the code that causes search results to pop up, they are responsible for the accuracy of said results. They further point out that this problem is an issue for all of us and is more serious that many realize. For example, do we let multinational corporations control the information the public sees without regulating to ensure the information is accurate?
Should I add fact checks to my site?
If you have a website that reviews claims made by others you can now include a tag that is a structured data element (Schema ClaimReview markup), which will show a summarized version of your fact check when the page appears in search results for that claim.
Fact checks are shown in either search results or News results only after meeting very specific News Publisher criteria for fact checks. They aren’t guaranteed, however. Just because your code is there doesn’t mean Google will show it. Why? Because fact checks are scored based on a programmatic ranking of the website. Just like algorithms that rank a page, the fact check element goes through a similar process and cannot be controlled or manipulated.
As with most Schema elements, if it’s applicable to your website and helpful to the end user, then the answer is always Yes – add the Schema to your website. When given the opportunity, always add additional insight into what your website is about for search engines. It makes it that much easier to rank.
Google Fact Check FAQs
Here are some common questions being asked about this important new Google feature.
Q: Can I have multiple fact checks on one page?
A: A single page can have multiple ClaimReview elements, separating each claim as fact or fiction. Websites are asked to avoid hosting the same claim over and over or repeating the same fact on multiple pages, unless they are variations of the same page.
Q: What criteria should an article meet in order to be considered for the fact check label/Schema?
A: It qualifies if the fact is easily identifiable in the article, easy for readers to understand, and has reached a conclusion; if the analysis of the fact is transparent; and if the methods of the analysis are cited from primary sources. If Google finds that a site’s claim is not correct as indicated, they may ignore or complete remove the site from Google News.
Q: If I disagree with a Fact Check, can I report it to Google?
A: Google doesn’t create a fact check; third-party websites do. If you disagree with a Fact Check, contact the website that published the fact to notify them of the incorrect piece of information.
Google gives you two ways to submit feedback as well. Below the Google Search result look for the “feedback” button and send your feedback once you’re given the prompts. In Google News, navigate to the Help & Feedback section of your news app or scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Send Feedback” when prompted. Each of these methods will help report any incorrect facts observed.
Q: What do Fact Checks look like?
A: They are indications that let you know, in the search result box, that a search result has been checked or validated. It indicates: that the claim has been checked, who made the claim, the name of the publisher doing the fact check, and a summary of the publisher’s fact check. In Google News, articles that include a fact check are labeled with the phrase “Fact Check.”
Q: How will multiple facts/claims be shown in mobile results?
A: If a page hosts multiple ClaimReview tags via Schema on one page, each of the items will be shown in a carousel in the results page like the one pictured below.
Always trusting what we see online could be within our reach, but much progress needs to be made and is yet to come. Be on the lookout for the incredibly helpful and useful snippets provided by Google and the large, important community known as Google’s Fact Check.
Share with us your results in the comments below, we’d love to hear about the searches you’re making that result in Google Fact Checks.