These days, it can feel like information is coming at us from every direction. It’s probably happened to you before: You caught a few minutes of a news broadcast, came across a viral meme or photo on social media, got a push alert or a family member messaged you in a group chat — and you may not feel like you got the whole story.
The widespread availability of information – from all different kinds of sources – is great for learning new facts and perspectives from around the world. But it can also make it difficult to sort out what information is credible and what isn’t.
Earlier this week, Sundar announced Google is investing $10 million to help fight misinformation about the realities and facts of the war in Ukraine. This includes new partnerships with think tanks and civil society organizations to conduct region-specific research into misinformation and disinformation and cash grants to support fact-checking networks and nonprofits.
International Fact-Checking Day on April 2 is a good reminder of the essential value of fact checking in this complicated information landscape. To do this efficiently, it’s helpful to have easy-to-use tools to check sources, get valuable context, and evaluate information. Here are four ways you can use Google to help:
Tips for evaluating information, right on Search
Sometimes when news is breaking or a new topic is trending, the information you’re searching for isn’t broadly available yet. In these moments, Search automatically shows a notice on your search results indicating that it can take time for a range of sources to publish information on a topic. These notices are currently available in more than 20 languages around the world.
Starting today, on searches in English in the U.S., these notices will also include tips to help you evaluate information online – reminding you that you can check whether a source is trusted on a topic, or come back later when there’s more information available. You can also check out our new resource page with pointers to help you navigate the information you’re finding online, based on research from information literacy experts. Here, you can find helpful reminders for when you come across new information, like searching about the author of a piece of content to get a sense of their credibility, or checking the publication date to make sure it’s still relevant.
An example of new information literacy tips on notices for rapidly evolving situations.
A new label for highly cited sources
Let’s say a local news organization breaks an investigative story looking into problems at your local school district. The story is so big that it gets picked up by numerous other media outlets. But what if you didn’t see that original story, which had unique context for local residents? We’re introducing a way to help you identify stories that have been frequently cited by other news organizations, giving you a simple way to find the most helpful or relevant information for a news story.
This label will appear on Top Stories. You will be able to find it on anything from an investigative article, to an interview, an announcement, a press release or a local news story, as long as other publishers indicate its relevance by linking to it. We’re particularly interested in the potential to elevate original reporting, making it even easier for people to discover and engage with the publishers and journalists whose work brings unique value to a story.
The highly cited label is launching soon on mobile in English for the U.S. and will roll out globally in the coming weeks.
An example of how the “highly cited” feature could appear in Top Stories
Fact checks from independent fact-checking organizations
Fact check features on Google are another way to easily find information that has been verified by independent fact-checking organizations. When you search for a topic that may be disputed, you might see fact-check articles in your results. These results display snippets to help you get context about a claim that was made. Additionally, when you browse Google News on desktop, you can see recently fact-checked claims from independent publishers in your region, when related to the top stories of the day.
Looking to fact check a specific topic or story you heard about? Google’s Fact Check Explorer lets you search different topics you have questions about. This tool collects more than 150,000 fact checks from reputable publishers from around the world.
An example of a search you can do in Fact Check Explorer.
Learn more about any page online
We’ve all had this happen before: You’re looking online and come across a story from a website you haven’t heard of before. In these situations, it’s helpful to check the source – for example, if you’re looking for information about a popular new investment option, you want to make sure you follow advice from a source with expertise on finance. It’s easy to check the source right on Search, with About This Result.
An example of how you can use About This Result to learn more about a source and topic.
When you tap the three dots on any search result, click the “more about this page” link to:
- Learn about the source to get a sense of how they describe themselves, in their own words
- Learn what others on the web have said about a site, to get a second look
- Learn additional context about the topic, like top news coverage, to see what a range of sources have to say.
These features will be available soon for all English-language searches worldwide.
Supporting fact checkers globally
We are also supporting a number of new efforts to bolster fact checking globally through the Google News Initiative. We are partnering with the International Fact Checking Network (IFCN) at the nonprofit Poynter Institute to provide training and resources to fact-checkers and industry experts around the world. The IFCN will establish a program to foster collaboration on emerging topics, support fact-checkers against harassment and host a series of workshops on digital tools and techniques. Support will also be given to help participants from underrepresented communities attend the Global Fact 9 event being held in Oslo later this year.
Additionally, we are partnering with a number of other fact-check organizations:
- Chequeado and Maldita in the United States to help launch FactChequeado, an initiative to identify new ways to fight misinformation in Latino communities.
- LatamChequea in Latin America to train 500 new fact-checkers in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.
- Comprova, in Brazil, the largest fact-checking coalition in the country that are focused on the presidential elections
- Agence-France Presse to create “Objectif désinfox,” a coalition of more than 20 newsrooms engaged in collaborative fact-checking the April 2022 French Presidential campaign.
- Australian Associated Press (AAP) to translate fact checks to 40 culturally and linguistically diverse publications.
- #FactsFirstPH, a coalition of more than 100 different groups in the Philippines to debunk disinformation ahead of the country’s May election.
We’re committed to helping people spot misinformation online and to supporting the fact-checking ecosystem for the long term and hope today’s announcements and tips help people feel more confident about navigating information online.
For more tips and best practices, check out the resources put together by the International Fact-Checking Network at factcheckingday.com. And if you’re a journalist, check out the GNI Training Center.