Microsoft has partnered with NewsGuard to fight against fake news. NewsGuard is a browser extension which rates the trustworthiness of news and information sites. And the mobile version of Edge for Android and iOS now comes with NewsGuard built-in.
NewsGuard Ranks Sites on Trustworthiness
The aptly named NewsGuard is a browser extension which provides write-ups of news and information sites on the web. NewsGuard analysts, which the company insists are all trained journalists, mark sites on a number of different metrics and rates them accordingly.
If you install NewsGuard you will see green ticks and red exclamation points assigned to the websites you visit. And if you want to know more about why sites have been ranked a certain way, you can click to read the NewsGuard “Nutrition Label” for that site.
Edge for Mobile Comes With NewsGuard
NewsGuard has been available since last year, but the latest version of the Microsoft Edge mobile apps comes with NewsGuard built-in to the browser itself. It’s off by default, but to turn it on just open Settings, scroll down to News rating, and then toggle NewsGuard on.
A Microsoft spokesperson told us:
“Microsoft is partnering with NewsGuard to offer the NewsGuard browser extension on Microsoft Edge, and a feature in Microsoft Edge mobile apps for iOS and Android to help our customers evaluate news sources. Across both the browser and the apps, NewsGuard is optional and customers need to take action if they want to use the feature.”
Not everyone is happy about Microsoft’s partnership with NewsGuard. In a tweet, WikiLeaks describes NewsGuard as a “neocon app […] pushing U.S. security state news imperialism across the world”. But then NewsGuard has awarded Wikileaks a red rating.
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
Mail Online isn’t happy either. NewsGuard suggests visitors to Mail Online “proceed with caution” as it “generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability”. The Guardian reports Mail Online as calling this an “egregiously erroneous classification”.
As you would expect, NewsGuard is standing by its product and denying bias plays any part in its ratings of news and information sites. In the press release announcing NewsGuard’s partnership with Microsoft, Steven Brill, Co-CEO of NewsGuard, said:
“We apply the nine standard journalistic benchmarks for credibility and transparency in a fully disclosed and apolitical manner. We do not block any news, which would violate free speech values. Instead, we simply bring more information to news consumers.”
Does Anyone Use Microsoft Edge on Mobile?
Whether you trust NewsGuard to judge websites fairly is entirely up to you. Regardless, this is a strong move by Microsoft, as it shows a tech company fighting back against fake news. Unfortunately, very few people use Microsoft Edge on mobile, but still.