Response to NewsGuard’s rating of provided by NewsBreak General Counsel Yiyi Jin, April 29, 2024

First, your label does not accurately depict our company and its founder. 

Particle Media, Inc. (DBA NewsBreak) was founded by Jeff Zheng, and Francisco Partners is NewsBreak’s leading investor. Jeff Zheng is not a media entrepreneur. He is a former Yahoo U.S. executive and serial technology entrepreneur.  After obtaining his Ph.D. from SUNY Buffalo, Jeff commenced his career and spent seven years at Yahoo! in the United States as an executive, leading technical teams. Following a brief period setting up Yahoo Lab and a startup venture in China, Jeff has been dedicated to NewsBreak in the U.S. since 2015.

NewsBreak is an American technology company, incorporated in Delaware, with operations based in Mountain View, CA (our headquarters), Bellevue, WA, and New York, NY. NewsBreak started its subsidiary in China as part of its R&D function in 2018. 

NewsBreak operates as an online platform that provides users with free access to a diverse range of locally relevant content by either hosting it directly or linking to third-party sources. Our Terms of Use and Community Standards are prominently featured on our homepage. 

NewsGuard initially assigned NewsBreak a rating of 12.5 out of 100 in January 2024. This rating was primarily based on a phone conversation held in January 2023 with a former employee. During this call, the former employee reportedly made several misleading and overly aspirational statements to NewsGuard, misrepresenting our company’s policies and procedures. These statements included identifying NewsBreak as a publisher, a claim that doesn’t align with our actual practices. Additionally, the former employee mentioned their personal views – which were never formalized into any company policies or practices – and later conveyed to NewsGuard that we possess “editorial leadership.” Again, this is incorrect and has never been a company policy or a practice.

Second, we strongly urge NewsGuard to immediately retract the language on your “Nutrition Label” that suggests NewsBreak contains false or egregiously misleading claims about the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war. 

NewsGuard flagged three articles and a video published by third parties to allege that NewsBreak contains false or egregiously misleading claims about the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war. The content in question was promptly removed upon receipt of a report, in accordance with our Community Standards.

As you are aware, our platform is primarily dedicated to delivering local information tailored to benefit our users, rather than emphasizing international news. We proudly host content from tens of thousands of publishers and creators, amounting to over 100,000 pieces of content daily. On the topics of the Russia-Ukraine war and the Israel-Hamas war, we display numerous articles from prestigious mainstream publishers including but not limited to AP, Reuters, NBC, CBS,  ABC, The New York Times, CNN, and Fox News.

We are greatly concerned by NewsGuard’s decision to spotlight only three outdated articles and a video to represent our platform. This selective focus is highly misleading and paints a fundamentally inaccurate picture of our platform. This misrepresentation has led to reputational damage and financial losses for our organization.

Third, we insist on the immediate correction and removal of the other misleading representation about NewsBreak.

Our content moderation system

As a platform striving to provide users with comprehensive and scalable local information and news free of charge, we have a robust content moderation system and take action upon identifying violations of our community standards. 

We have a zero-tolerance policy towards harmful content. When we identify any violations of our standards, we take prompt action. The system is not perfect. But we are striving for a dynamic environment that makes local information easily accessible and abundantly available. We are committed to continuous improvement of our system of accountability and content moderation, and we rely on technology tools and human oversight, along with community reports, to swiftly identify the violations of our standards. We consistently aim to reduce the potential for harm and instead preserve a safe environment for our users. We value transparency, accountability and credibility in all our efforts.


As a platform, NewsBreak entrusts third-party users with the responsibility of maintaining the integrity and transparency of their work. This includes requiring the inclusion of a disclaimer for AI-generated content, as outlined in our terms.

ChatGPT and other AI tools are readily accessible to everyone on the internet today. There may be instances where third parties have utilized AI to generate their content without including a disclaimer. This is exemplified in the articles you mentioned such as one titled “Kevin Durant: A Basketball Prodigy” and another titled “Is Spirit Airlines Safe? – An in-depth Exploration of safety and service.” In such cases, when reported, NewsBreak’s moderation team will conduct a review and subsequently remove the content for violating our terms. Additionally, NewsBreak is committed to continuously evaluating and exploring the evolving landscape of AI to ensure its responsible and ethical utilization.

Regarding the article titled “Christmas Day Tragedy Strikes Bridgeton, New Jersey Amid Rising Gun Violence in Small Towns,” it’s important to note that the error was not caused by AI. The misinformation originates from the content source provided below, and it’s important to highlight that the source itself still contains the incorrect information. article has been immediately removed from NewsBreak upon receiving the report. 

Addressing transparency 

NewsBreak is an open platform allowing third parties to use pen or brand names as they see fit upon creating their accounts. These names are chosen solely by the user, and the biography is exclusively authored by them, not by NewsBreak. Therefore, your assertion that “unnamed contributors such as ‘iSkyCreations,’ which NewsBreak describes as ‘a passionate team of journalists and reporters,” is inaccurate. 

We also prioritize transparency by providing our users with clear visibility into the source of the content, empowering them to assess its credibility based on its origin.  

Enforcing third-party accountability

Third parties on NewsBreak are held accountable for serious violations of our community standards. For example, contributors on NewsBreak are held accountable through a strike system designed to address serious violations of our community standards. Under this system, Contributors are issued strikes for each infraction, with the third strike resulting in the termination of their account. In the case of the contributor who wrote the article titled “Questions Arise Over Zelensky-Linked Company’s Purchase of Goebbels’s Former Villa in Berlin,” they had previously accumulated two strikes for prior violations. Consequently, their account has now been terminated per our policies.

Furthermore, we don’t understand why you included those URLs at the end of your label. Most of the links are outdated, with numerous articles dating as far back as 2021 and 2022. The label doesn’t explain why these URLs are there at the end.

Overall, NewsGuard’s portrayal of NewsBreak is inaccurate and does not reflect information from current employees. It’s crucial that these issues are promptly addressed. I’m hopeful that we can come to an agreement on resolving these matters swiftly and effectively.

NewsGuard Editors’ response: We believe all of these issues are addressed in the Nutrition Label.