Five Ways NewsGuard Has Made a Difference in Five Years

Here’s how NewsGuard has contributed to the fight against misinformation over the last five years, through partnerships across advertising, AI, education, audience intelligence, and academic research.

By Elan Kane and Veena McCoole | Published on December 20, 2023

NewsGuard launched in 2018 with an ambitious mission to counter misinformation on behalf of news consumers, brands, and democracies. We thought we were launching at exactly the right time because there was so much misinformation polluting the world on issues ranging from measles vaccines to the alleged dangers of 5G technology to the U.S. midterm elections. What we didn’t know was that this was the relative calm before the storm. The year 2018 was before COVID, before the 2020 election, before Stop the Steal and January 6, before the surge in anti-vaccine hoaxes, before the Russia-Ukraine war, before the Trump indictments and the beginning of the 2024 election cycle, before the Israel-Hamas war, and before generative AI dramatically enhanced the power of the internet to spread falsehoods at unimaginable scale.

Over these last five years, our global staff of journalists and information specialists has met these challenges by updating and deploying more than 6.9 million data points on more than 35,000 news and information sources, and cataloging and tracking all of the top false narratives spreading online.

From our launch day in 2018 until now, every piece of work we have done has been powered by trained misinformation experts and experienced journalists. In an age of AI, our human-vetted approach has made us a partner of leading Generative AI models (like Microsoft Copilot) as a crucial, human-in-the-loop check and balance for automated outputs.

As we approach the end of NewsGuard’s fifth anniversary, here are five examples among many of how NewsGuard has contributed to the fight against misinformation through partnerships in sectors from advertising to education, audience intelligence to academic research:

NewsGuard's integration with audience intelligence platform Pulsar overlays news results with source credibility context for clients.

1. Supporting Brands’ Responses to Misinformation Content

Pulsar is a market-leading audience, media and social intelligence company, and a long-standing NewsGuard partner—the first in its industry to fully integrate NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings into its platform for clients. From U.K. Government departments to strategic communications organizations like Havas Group, Pulsar provides its partners with the most granular audience analysis and insights, including NewsGuard’s ratings.

“Misinformation is a growing challenge to brand reputation, and it’s crucial that brands understand the full context of where and how they are being discussed online,” explains Francesco D’Orazio, CEO of Pulsar. “With NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings, Pulsar clients are able to instantly recognize when they are being mentioned on riskier sites that have previously published misinformation and adapt their reactive communications strategies for maximum effectiveness and impact.”


2. Bolstering Quality Journalism in Ukraine

In May 2023, NewsGuard partnered with Reporters Without Borders (RSF) to produce Reliability Ratings alongside the Journalism Trust Initiative’s transparency reports for Ukrainian newsrooms. NewsGuard rated 25 Ukrainian news publishers in the first batch, with many receiving high scores for their standards of editorial integrity and transparency. This proves that even in times of war, journalism standards can be upheld in service of the public information ecosystem.

NewsGuard’s “Ukraine Inclusion List,” comprising these Reliability Ratings, facilitates investment in quality Ukrainian media advertising inventory for brands and agencies, generating new revenue opportunities for publishers in the country.

“The JTI Emergency Protocol has proved to be efficient in bringing light to trustworthy sources in the Ukrainian media landscape,” says Thibaut Bruttin, assistant director general of Reporters Without Borders. “Partnering with NewsGuard will enable these high-quality Ukrainian newsrooms to receive crucial advertising revenue that is needed now more than ever.”


3. Enabling Responsible Advertising on News, Especially During Times of Conflict

OpenX implements digital advertising strategies for brands and publishers, and partners with NewsGuard to support quality journalism. As the Russia-Ukraine war has escalated, OpenX uses NewsGuard’s data to enable its advertising clients to ensure sources rated unreliable by NewsGuard for publishing Russian disinformation narratives are not monetized, and that brands are protected from advertising on sites that don’t align with their values. NewsGuard and Comscore estimate there is $2.6 billion a year in programmatic advertising that brands never intended being placed on misinformation websites, funding thousands of low-quality sites.

“Our goal is to help our customers and the ad-tech ecosystem see that the programmatic ad marketplace can indeed support quality journalism,” explains Chris Hallenbeck, OpenX’s Senior Director of Marketplace Quality. “NewsGuard is an important solution in the industry for enabling advertisers to do exactly that, without sacrificing brand safety.”

The CSMR research team created an “Iffy Quotient” tool to track the proportion of unreliable websites shared on Facebook and X (formerly Twitter). Source:

4. Using NewsGuard Trust Data to Measure ‘Iffy’ Sites

NewsGuard data powers research teams studying misinformation, election integrity, media literacy, and more. In 2019, the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility (CSMR) retooled its metric called the “Iffy Quotient,” which uses NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings to measure the percentage of the most popular news URLs on Facebook and Twitter (now X) that are from sites that frequently publish unreliable information.

“We used NewsGuard’s data because it is created by career journalists who are transparent about their criteria and their judgments of individual sites,” says James Park, Assistant Director of CSMR. “NewsGuard’s trust data was crucial to our ongoing work quantifying social media’s amplification of misinformation.”


5. Equipping Older Populations with Media Literacy Tools

One quarter of older people in the U.K. face digital exclusion, meaning they are not online and are consequently excluded from the benefits that the online world can bring. Moreover, 62% of U.K. adults aged over 65 agree that “access to information about the credibility of an online news source” would help them “to feel more confident navigating the internet,” according to a YouGov study, commissioned by NewsGuard.

Age UK addresses issues affecting older people and partnered with NewsGuard to support older populations with media literacy tools, including training webinars.

“Through their work with Age UK, NewsGuard have provided useful, relevant and practical advice and guidance around misinformation for older people and those supporting them,” explains Kathleen O’Donnell, Digital Inclusion Learning Manager at Age UK. “The free NewsGuard web browser tool offer has been greatly received by the Age UK Network and provides staff and volunteers with the opportunity to grow their knowledge and confidence to help older people to navigate the complex media landscape.”

If you are interested in partnering with NewsGuard as we strive to counter misinformation in the next five years, contact