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Microsoft adds fake news warning to mobile Edge browser

Microsoft adds fake news warning to mobile Edge browser

Microsoft is rolling out a feature that warns readers if a website is likely to publish fake news to the mobile edition of its Edge browser. The warning, which is designed to stop the spread of misinformation on the Internet, reads: "this website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability."

The message is produced by NewsGuard, a third-party startup trying to establish an industry standard for which websites can be trusted and which can't. Human NewsGuard analysts check websites to see if they meet a set of journalistic standards, inviting publishers that do not meet those standards to improve to gain a higher trust rating.

The deal between Microsoft and NewsGuard is part of the Redmond-headquartered company's Defending Democracy programme. Microsoft has no say over the ratings that NewsGuard gives to websites producing or publishing editorial content.

The fake news feature was already available as a downloadable plug-in, but Microsoft is now rolling it out as an optional install on its Edge browser on mobile. The company says that this is just the first stage, with plans to have the filter on across multiple platforms in the future.

fake news
The warning message that is displayed on Edge mobile. / © The Guardian

“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,” a Microsoft spokesperson told AndroidPIT.

It's an interesting feature, but one that few will ever see. Market share for Edge on mobile is currently tiny. The Microsoft browser is used by only 0.04% of mobile users. Google's Chrome browser is the most popular on mobile with 63.35% of market share. Safari, the default browser on Apple's iPhones has 27.54% of the market share.

Readers in the UK might be interested to read that The Daily Mail website is rated only one out of five for credibility, more than poor enough to trigger the warning. The Daily Mail/Mail Online is one of the most popular online sources of news in the UK. It was only overtaken by The Sun as the UK’s most-read print and digital paper in April last year. Mail Online still attracts 31.2 million monthly readers.

NewsGuard co-founder Steve Brill, told The Guardian: "We want people to game our system. We are totally transparent. We are not an algorithm." He added that his company has already produced verdicts on the top 2,000 news outlets in the US.

What do you think about the fake news warning message on Edge? Would it make you hit the back button?

Source: The Guardian

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