The proliferation of fake news has emerged as a major cause of concern in the hyper-connected digital age we live in, forcing tech giants to adopt a proactive approach to control it. Moving forward in the same direction, Microsoft has partnered with NewsGuard to add a new feature to Edge browser for mobile which alerts users when they visit an untrustworthy website that might spread fake news. The feature, which is called NewsGuard, is now being rolled out via the stable channel for Edge users.
Microsoft first rolled out the NewsGuard feature on Edge browser’s mobile version as a beta for Android and iOS earlier this month. The company has now released the fake news alert feature for Edge users on Android and we can confirm that it is now available on the stable Microsoft Edge app listed on the Play Store. The feature can be activated by visiting Settings > News rating > Display rating address bar. The feature is expected to make its way to iOS soon as well, considering it had entered testing earlier this year.
Once users have enabled the NewsGuard feature on the Edge browser for mobile, they will see a red or green badge in the URL bar when they open a website. A green badge signifies a safe source with credible information while a red badge stands for publications involved in disseminating suspicious content such as fake news or wrong information. For example, visiting Daily Mail Online shows a red badge which on being tapped, displays a warning message that says “Proceed with caution: This website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability”. As for the desktop, there is a NewsGuard plug-in that’s available via the Microsoft Store and offers the same features.
Additionally, the NewsGuard feature in Microsoft Edge will also provide a detailed breakdown of the publisher’s details via a “Nutrition Label” that contains information such as ownership and financing, content quality, credibility, transparency, and past history. As for NewsGuard, it is a consortium of journalism veterans which rates news content on the basis of multiple criteria to maintain a standard and accordingly classifies a publisher to let users know whether the content they read is true or suspicious. NewsGuard’s objective is to eradicate the fake news frenzy and promote a healthier brand of journalism free from evils like wrong information and sensational content lacking veracity.