NewsGuard Expands Service to Australia and New Zealand, Rating News Sources and Tracking False Narratives; Finds Climate Change Misinformation to be Major Subject of Unreliable Websites
- NewsGuard advances its mission of countering misinformation on behalf of news consumers, brands and democracies.
- NewsGuard has published ratings and “Nutrition Labels” for the websites that account for 92% of online engagement with the news in Australia and New Zealand, bringing the total number of countries covered by NewsGuard to nine.
- Pro-bono media literacy partnerships offered to public libraries, widening access to NewsGuard’s browser extension, with libraries in Melbourne already providing the news-literacy tool.
- NewsGuard’s services help Australia and New Zealand’s brands, advertising agencies, and ad tech companies stop inadvertently financing misinformation sites and proactively invest in quality journalism.
- One in five news sites that NewGuard rated in Australia and New Zealand gets untrustworthy scores; this is a higher fraction of low-rated sites than in the U.K. or Canada, but a lower fraction of low-rated sites than in the U.S., Germany or France.
(March 15, 2023 — Sydney, Australia) NewsGuard, a service that provides ratings and credibility scores for thousands of news websites to help citizens, brands and officials in democracies countering information warfare distinguish reliable sites from misinformation providers, today announced its launch in Australia and New Zealand.
Following launches in Austria and Canada in 2022, adding to NewsGuard’s presence in the U.S., U.K., Italy, France, and Germany, NewsGuard is bringing its journalist-powered data and misinformation research to Australia and New Zealand to arm individuals, companies, schools, libraries, government agencies, and researchers with a new tool to address the problem of misinformation and disinformation online.
“Since 2018, NewsGuard has protected internet users, brands, and democracies from the evolving threats of misinformation,” said Gordon Crovitz, NewsGuard’s co-CEO. “Now, our team has expanded to Australia and New Zealand to provide our journalistic credibility assessments of news sources to empower governments, brands, advertising agencies, and non-profit organizations with human-vetted insights to support quality journalism and systemically defund sources of harmful misinformation.”
NewsGuard launches its operations in Australia and New Zealand shortly after the Australian Communications Minister Michelle Rowland announced that the Australian Communications and Media Authority could enact an enforceable industry code against online misinformation if industry self-regulation measures proved insufficient. “Misinformation and disinformation pose a threat to the safety and wellbeing of Australians, as well as to our democracy, society and economy,” Rowland said in a statement.
“Pulsar has integrated NewsGuard’s Reliability Ratings into the core analytics of our platform, so any news content in Pulsar carries a NewsGuard rating where applicable, and data can be quickly analyzed through the lens of misinformation,” said Francesco D’Orazio, CEO of Pulsar. “Combined with Pulsar’s Visibility algorithm, the NewsGuard integration helps our customers quickly identify potential misinformation narratives as they emerge, and well before they gain traction with any online audience.”
Almost one in five news sites that NewsGuard rated in Australia (19%) and in New Zealand (18%) get untrustworthy scores. This is a higher percentage of engagement with low-reliability sites than in the U.K. (15%) or Canada (4%), but a lower percentage than in the U.S. (46%), France (33%) or Germany (25%).
NewsGuard is making publicly available the following three site ratings as examples:
NewsGuard’s ratings of Australia and New Zealand sites include the rating of a network of 14 domains associated with AustralianNationalReview.com, a site that has repeatedly published false claims on a variety of topics, including the COVID-19 pandemic and COVID-19 vaccines, the 2020 U.S. presidential election, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The network does not disclose its ownership, and readers may be confused by the sites’ names, which sound like national news outlets such as AustralianMorningHerald.com and NewZealandTimes.live.
Australian National Review did not respond to a total of five emails seeking comments on the site’s editorial and transparency practices including one sent on 23 February 2023. The phone number provided on AustralianNationalReview.com was not in service when NewsGuard attempted to contact the site on 17 August 2022 and 23 February 2023.
Half of Sites Publishing False Content Publish Climate Disinformation
Climate-related false narratives circulate widely in Australia and New Zealand, and NewsGuard’s analysts found that about 50% of the sites that regularly publish false content in Australia have published disinformation on climate change, including false claims such as, “the rise in global sea levels is not accelerating,” “human activity does not contribute to climate change,” and “extreme weather is not getting worse”.
News consumers can access ratings of news and information sources by subscribing to the NewsGuard browser extension on Chrome, Safari, Edge or Firefox, at a monthly cost of AU$6.95 in Australia and NZ$6.95 in New Zealand. The NewsGuard browser extension is available to users at no cost using the Edge browser, thanks to NewsGuard’s partnership with Microsoft.
Thanks to Microsoft’s library sponsorship, NewsGuard is extending its global media literacy partnership program to public libraries in Australia and New Zealand, which will allow patrons to engage critically with the websites in their social media feeds and search results through free access to NewsGuard’s browser extension. Bayside City Council public libraries in Melbourne have already made NewsGuard’s browser extension available to patrons, joining more than 900 libraries serving seven million patrons worldwide.
“We welcome NewsGuard’s launch in Australia and New Zealand,” said Matt Masterson, Director of Information Integrity at Microsoft. “Microsoft firmly believes that empowering consumers with the tools necessary to find, consume and share authoritative information is critical to supporting healthy information ecosystems and, therefore, thriving democracies.”
Advertisers and advertising agencies in Australia and New Zealand will be able to license NewsGuard’s brand-safety tools to ensure that their programmatic advertising does not appear on misinformation websites. Due to the opaque nature of computer-placed digital advertising, NewsGuard and Comscore have estimated that there is US$2.6 billion a year in advertising unintentionally supporting misinformation sites.
NewsGuard also provides tools for democratic governments to counter hostile disinformation operations from countries such as China and Russia. Among the governments using NewsGuard data to protect their citizens from disinformation are the U.S, U.K, France, Ukraine and Poland. With the addition of Australia and New Zealand, NewsGuard now serves a group of countries (U.S, U.K, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand) that share intelligence, including about foreign disinformation operations.
NewsGuard is hosting a breakfast event in Sydney on March 15th, 2023, to gather industry professionals, anti-misinformation practitioners, journalists, media literacy experts, advertising and technology experts, and academic researchers, among others, to celebrate NewsGuard’s launch. The event features a panel discussion, an information session about NewsGuard in Australia and New Zealand, and the opportunity to network and meet the NewsGuard team.
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., Canada, Germany, France, Austria, Italy, and now in Australia and New Zealand. NewsGuard products include NewsGuard, NewsGuard for Advertisers, which helps marketers concerned about their brand safety, the Misinformation Fingerprints catalog of top false narratives online, and NewsGuard for AI, used to train generative AI such as chat bots.
In 2022, NewsGuard began rating television news and information programs and networks using criteria similar to those used to score websites but adapted for the video medium. NewsGuard’s TV ratings are the first to go beyond its initial ratings of websites. Ratings for OTT and CTV news programming and news and information podcasts will also be available for licensing in 2023.
NewsGuard’s ratings are conducted by trained journalists using apolitical criteria of journalistic practice.
NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels are licensed by browsers, news aggregators, education companies, and social media and search platforms to make NewsGuard’s information about news websites available to their users. Consumers can also access NewsGuard’s website ratings by purchasing a subscription to NewsGuard, which costs AU$6.95, NZ$6.95, US$4.95/month, €4.95/month or £4.95/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. 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.
- Steven Brill, Co-CEO, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Gordon Crovitz, Co-CEO, email@example.com
- Veena McCoole, VP Communications and Marketing, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Virginia Padovese, Managing Editor and VP Partnerships Europe and Australia, email@example.com