This year, we’ve made a major investment in combating misinformation. This summer, we publicly released our Publisher and Moderation Standards, transparently released a blog outlining our process for enforcement, eliminated more than fifty publishers from our network who did not meet these standards, and partnered with Global Disinformation Index (GDI) and other industry experts to strengthen our identification and enforcement efforts.
We take this effort incredibly seriously. With over 100 million monthly active users across more than 1,000 publishers, the decisions we make have a real impact on user safety, and on the state of online conversation.
That’s why today we’re proud to announce our partnership with NewsGuard.
Starting immediately, we are leveraging NewsGuard’s expertise and technology to sharpen our ability to enforce those aforementioned standards across our network.
But who is NewsGuard? And how do they identify potentially problematic publishers?
NewsGuard works with advertisers, agencies, and ad tech companies to help them steer ad dollars away from sites spreading false narratives, and instead direct their ads to trustworthy news sites. As NewsGuard has previously reported, major brands regularly and inadvertently place ads on misinformation websites, creating a reputation risk for the brands and a financial boon for the hoax websites.
A recent NewsGuard report, published in partnership with Comscore, found that advertisers are unintentionally spending $2.6 billion a year on programmatic advertising on misinformation and hoax sites, helping to explain the scale of the “infodemic”. For example, more than 4,000 top brands placed ads on sites spreading COVID-19 hoaxes, and more than 1,600 brands advertised on sites that published falsehoods about the 2020 U.S. elections.
NewsGuard’s team of trained journalists use a completely transparent process to rate all of the websites that account for 95% of online engagement with news in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, and Italy. Each site is rated using nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, designed to assess the site’s credibility and transparency practices.
Based on the nine criteria, sites receive a score of zero to 100. Those scoring below 60 get a Red rating—indicating the site is generally unreliable. Those scoring 60 or above get a Green rating—indicating the site is generally reliable. The rating is described in a detailed “Nutrition Label” review, providing transparency to readers and publishers around how each rating was determined. In addition, all sites get ample opportunity to comment on their ratings before they are published.
NewsGuard’s scoring, nutrition labels, and research resources are incorporated into our ongoing Publisher Standards enforcement process. Our processes are always being improved, so stay tuned—there’s more information regarding our efforts to combat misinformation and toxicity to come.