NewsGuard Extends and Expands Licensing Agreement with Microsoft
New Agreement Continues Microsoft’s Access to NewsGuard Data to Increase Resilience Against Disinformation and Support Credible Journalism.
(New York, June 14, 2021) NewsGuard Technologies, which uses trained journalists to review and rate the credibility of thousands of news and information websites and their associated social media accounts, today announced a significant expansion and extension of its licensing agreement with Microsoft. Microsoft will continue to implement NewsGuard data as a key resource to reinforce its efforts to counter disinformation, support credible journalism, and work against financial incentives to promote untrustworthy content.
A few key terms form the new three-year agreement include the following: NewsGuard’s news literacy initiatives will continue to be sponsored by Microsoft’s Defending Democracy program—through which more than 800 public libraries provide NewsGuard to their more than seven million patrons in the United States, Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. NewsGuard plans to expand the program into new countries, including Australia and Canada, later this year. Also, all users of Microsoft Edge’s desktop and mobile browser will have free access to the extension which display’s NewsGuard’s ratings, without paying the $2.95 monthly subscription fee that users of other browsers must pay. NewsGuard will also continue to provide its data for use in promoting trustworthy sources of news and information by Microsoft News and the Bing search engine and provide training, resources, and other support to Microsoft’s efforts, announced last fall, to preserve and protect journalism and local newsrooms.
“We are delighted to be able to continue to expand our relationship with Microsoft, which has consistently been the leader among global companies in taking steps to address the unforeseen, unintended consequences of new technologies,” said NewsGuard co-CEO Gordon Crovitz. “Microsoft was the first technology company to embrace NewsGuard’s ratings as a ‘middleware’ solution, integrating NewsGuard tools into its products, empowering Microsoft users with choices to protect themselves and their families from misinformation online. Microsoft’s leadership has made this middleware approach a broader industry solution to the need for greater online safety at a time of an ‘infodemic’ of misinformation on social media and other digital platforms.”
“Microsoft’s standing as a leading global citizen played a key role in giving NewsGuard the early attention and credibility that has now enabled us to attract so many other partners who license our data for so many uses,” said co-CEO Steven Brill. “We continue to be grateful to be working with Microsoft to arm its customers with NewsGuard ratings and Nutrition Labels to help them know the difference between generally reliable sources of news and information and generally unreliable sources,” he added.
“We believe that this agreement will help us to contribute with impact and scale to efforts to increase societal resilience against disinformation,” said Kate O’Sullivan, General Manager of Digital Diplomacy, Microsoft, and a member of NewsGuard’s global advisory board. “Countering disinformation through technology is a key pillar of Microsoft’s Defending Democracy Program. NewsGuard offers important tools to help evaluate online news sources before relying on the credibility of their contents. We are looking forward to helping consumers in this way and the work we will do together under the extension of our agreement with NewsGuard.”
Launched in March 2018 by media entrepreneur and award-winning journalist Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites. NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, HealthGuard, and BrandGuard, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, and the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top hoaxes used by cybersecurity firms and threat intelligence agencies..
NewsGuard rates each site based on nine apolitical criteria of journalistic practice, including whether a site repeatedly publishes false content, whether it regularly corrects or clarifies errors, and whether it avoids deceptive headlines. It awards weighted points for each criterion and sums them up; a score of less than 60 earns a “Red” rating, while 60 and above earns a “Green” rating, which indicates it is generally reliable.
Advertisers, advertising agencies and advertising tech companies license NewsGuard’s brand-safety product, BrandGuard. BrandGuard includes Responsible Advertising for News Segments, or RANS. RANS enables advertisers to direct their programmatic advertising toward legitimate journalism – including independent local news publishers as well as those who serve disadvantaged communities – while keeping them from financing COVID hoax websites and other misinformation NewsGuard Insights service is a product that includes a data-driven dashboard as well as regular briefings on trends in misinformation and disinformation that NewsGuard now provides to other corporate licensees. NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels can be licensed by internet service providers, browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms in order to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can access these ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs $2.95/month and includes access to NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and its mobile app for iOS and Android. The extension is available for free on Microsoft’s Edge browser through a license agreement with Microsoft, and NewsGuard’s ratings can also be accessed free through the Edge mobile browser. Hundreds of public libraries globally receive free access to use NewsGuard’s browser extension on their public-access computers to give their patrons more context for the news they encounter online. For more information, including to download the browser extension and review the ratings process, visit newsguardtech.com.