As we reported earlier this this month, Microsoft is baking NewsGuard into the mobile versions of its Edge web browser for Android and iOS devices via an optional switch, and now the feature is moving out of beta. This is likely part of an ongoing effort by many businesses, Microsoft included, to combat the ongoing rise of fake news that has been plaguing the web in recent years (via The Verge).
After turning on the setting, the NewsGuard shield icon appears on the address bar, indicating the credibility of popular media websites. Tapping on the icon give the user a definition of the icon’s meaning, and a link to see the full details, including whether the outlet uses credible sources, frequently corrects itself, properly differentiates news and opinion, and provides financing and ownership details.
In one example, FoxNews.com is marked as generally credible, presenting users information responsibly and without using misleading headlines. However the outlet fails to regularly correct errors and does not fully provide ownership and financial details, according NewsGuard.
While it certainly does give the user some insight even their own credibility can be questioned. According to a tweet from the official WikiLeaks Twitter account, NewsGuard warns users to be cautious of its credibility despite “admitting [its] perfect accuracy.”
Microsoft adds neocon app "NewsGuard" to its Edge webrowser by default pushing U.S. security state news imperialism across the world. Gives green tick rating for Voice of America & Fox News but red mark for @WikiLeaks despite admitting perfect accuracy. https://t.co/gn4Cq22507 pic.twitter.com/atd0Ouucdy
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) January 14, 2019
The good news is that the company seems to be totally open to criticism. According to their co-founder has told The Guardian that they are “happy to be blamed,” and that “unlike the platforms [they are] happy to be accountable.”
As the service continues to improve overtime, we’ll just have to wait and see how well it tackles the false information that comes out of fake news. It’s not just available on Android and iOS via Edge’s settings menu, but also as an extension for the desktop version of the browser as well.
The NewsGuard Edge extension for desktop systems: