To be featured on Google News, the tech giant has made it mandatory for news sites to reveal their country of origin. As part of its efforts to fight fake news, Google said publications cannot “engage in coordinated activity to mislead users” and updated its guidelines to make it a must for websites to reveal their owners.
“We update our policies on a regular basis to reflect a constantly changing web and how people look for information online,” a company spokesperson told Bloomberg. “As a result, we want to ensure that people can understand and see where their news online is coming from and that sites are being transparent about their origins.”
Lawmakers in the United States criticised Google, Facebook and Twitter for not doing enough to foil alleged Russian attempts to influence the 2016 US presidential election. “People are buying ads on your platform with roubles. They are political ads,” former Senator Al Franken had said in October. “Google has all knowledge that man has ever developed. You cannot put together [Russian currency] roubles with a political ad and go like, ‘Hmmm, those data points spell out something pretty bad?’”
In June, Google redesigned the news aggregation service and gave it a cleaner look for its desktop version. With this, the company aimed to help readers see content that has been fact-checked by third parties. In November, Google, Facebook and Twitter began showing “trust indicators” with news links so users can identify how trustworthy a news source might be.