“Fake news” and other misinformation, online propaganda, and satirical content people believe is true have filled the web via search engines and social media, and have caused a rift in how people perceive today’s news organizations and the quality of their coverage. A nonpartisan effort called The Trust Project is working to address this situation by helping online users distinguish between reliable journalism and promotional content or misinformation.
Today, a key part of that effort – called “Trust Indicators” – are going live on Facebook, offering easy-to-access, transparent information about a news organization’s ethics and practices.
Here’s how this will work in practice: starting today on Facebook, an icon will appear next to articles in the News Feed. When you click on this icon, you can read information the publisher has shared related to their organization’s “ethics and other standards, the journalists’ backgrounds, and how they do their work,” according to an announcement from The Trust Project.
Facebook, Google, Bing and Twitter have all committed to displaying these indicators, though not all implementations are yet live.
On Google, the Trust Indicators will appear within Google News, Google Search, and in other Google products where news is found, the company explained in a blog post today. However, Google says it’s still determining how exactly the Indicators will be displayed.
The Trust Project itself was started by journalist Sally Lehrman of Santa Clara University’s Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, and is funded by Craigslist founder Craig Newmark’s Philanthropic Fund, Google, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, and the Markkula Foundation.
“In today’s digitized and socially networked world, it’s harder than ever to tell what’s accurate reporting, advertising, or even misinformation,” Lehrman said, in a statement. “An increasingly skeptical public wants to know the expertise, enterprise and ethics behind a news story. The Trust Indicators put tools into people’s hands, giving them the means to assess whether news comes from a credible source they can depend on.”
Specifically, The Trust Project has released eight Trust Indicators created by leaders from over 75 news organizations that will offer additional transparency about an organization’s ethics and practices.
After announcing that it would begin removing blue verification badges from accounts that violated its guidelines earlier today, Twitter kicked things off by stripping several white supremacists’ profiles of their ‘verified’ status.