On April 7, 2017, Google announced something that I never thought we would need. They are now providing a way to “certify” that news returned from a Google search has (or has not) been checked for accuracy and truth. This is what our media has come to — an outside group must now check to see if what is reported is true or not.
Publishers are now able to show a “Fact Check” tag in Google News for news stories. According to Google, “This label identifies articles that include information fact checked by news publishers and fact-checking organizations… For the first time, when you conduct a search on Google that returns an authoritative result containing fact checks for one or more public claims, you will see that information clearly on the search results page. The snippet will display information on the claim, who made the claim, and the fact check of that particular claim.”
While the information will not be available for every returned search, it will be for many of them. In addition, some searches may return contradictory information, which may result in different conclusions being presented on the same topic. That will mean that readers will need to review and assess both sides of the argument to determine what they believe is true. Critical judgment is still required.
I applaud Google for adding this critical tool for today’s digital citizen. However, I lament the fact that it has become necessary. Regardless, it is imperative that we show this tool to our students and teach them what it means and how best to use it. So how will you use the Fact Check feature with your students and staff?