Neeva, an ad-free subscription-based search startup founded by former head of Google advertising, Sridhar Ramaswamy, has inked a deal with NewsGuard, which provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites.
The search engine says it will use NewsGuard as “middleware” that integrates labels directly into the search results it provides to its consumers.
The goal is to help protect against misinformation by providing information about the nature of the source. (It seems simple, but what if the source is unreliable?)
The company claims no censorship of sources, but it does give them a rating based on a variety of criteria.
Neeva users have access to information about the source in their search results, so they can determine the trustworthiness. NewsGuard provides a link to the sources, which allows readers to determine the validity of the content.
Research shows that rating credibility at the source is an effective way to help consumers avoid relying on false content and increase their trust in credible and transparent sources, according to the company.
"Of all the websites that account for 98% of engagement, 40% get a red rating from us," said Gordon Crovitz, Co-CEO at NewsGuard.
The journalists at NewsGuard assess news and information sites based on nine journalistic criteria. Each site is worth a certain number of points. A site worth 60 points or higher receives a Green rating, the highest.
A score of lower than 60 points receives a red rating. It also is based on whether a site regularly corrects or clarifies errors.
For example, if the “site makes clear how to report an error or complaint, has effective practices for publishing clarifications and corrections, and notes corrections in a transparent way.” That criterion is worth 12.5 Points.
Microsoft also has licensed NewsGuard, so anyone using the Edge browser can get the extension for free," Crovitz said.
Crovitz and NewsGuard co-CEO and co-founder Steven Brill spent their careers in journalism. Crovitz spent time as publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and Brill as founder of The American Lawyer and CourtTV and author of multiple non-fiction books.
Misinformation runs rapid across the internet, from search engines to social media sites. In September, NewsGuard reported that children, despite no searching for the information, were exposed to fake news about vaccines and Covid conspiracy theories on TikTok. They found the misinformation after recruiting nine children, with parental consent, to take part in its study between August and September. The kids ages nine to 17 were asked to create a TikTok account and interact with it for 45 minutes.
NewsGuard’s analysis of screen recordings taken by the participants show in the first 35 minutes on TikTok, 88.89% were shown misinformation related to COVID-19, and 66.67% were shown misinformation specific to COVID-19 vaccines.
Sometimes you have to wonder why it took so long for someone to create this type of company with a rating system.