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In 2019, we still don’t really know what to do about fake news. With nothing to disincentivize viral hyperpartisan headlines and other exercises in confirmation bias, online misinformation seems to run as rampant as ever. It’s a tricky problem, particularly because it’s one that requires the readers most drawn to too outrageous to be true news to challenge their beliefs. In other words, without some kind of technical solution or massive cultural shift, the fake news dilemma won’t be solving itself any time soon.
That being said, Microsoft’s mobile Edge browser is taking a modest swing at it. On Android and iOS, the Microsoft Edge app now installs with a built in fake news detector called NewsGuard. The partnership is an extension of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy program and NewsGuard for Edge was first announced earlier this month.
NewsGuard - Default - Anyone - Edge - Toggle
While NewsGuard isn’t on by default, anyone using Edge can enable it with a simple toggle in the settings menu. When I downloaded the app to test it, Edge actually nudged me to the Settings menu and then to an option called News Rating (this enables NewsGuard) with a small blue dot. The dot wasn’t an alarm-red notification but would probably be notable enough to pique my interest and point me to the setting, even if I wasn’t writing this story.
For now, NewsGuard’s ratings concentrate on US-based websites, but major sites abroad are included too. TechCrunch received a healthy green check on NewsGuard, indicating that we maintain “basic standards of accuracy and accountability.” Clicking the green badge next to the address bar presented an option to review TechCrunch’s...
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