NewsGuard’s First Year

Inside NewsGuard’s First Year Fighting Misinformation

NewsGuard’s Human Intelligence solution to misinformation and disinformation launched a year ago in September 2018. With its launch, NewsGuard pioneered a new credibility and transparency rating system for news websites and built a team of trained journalists and editors to apply that system to thousands of websites in the United States and Europe.

For thousands of users, NewsGuard’s browser extension for Chrome, Edge, Firefox and Safari browsers brought NewsGuard’s detailed ratings to their news feeds and search results on the most popular search engines, social media sites, and news aggregators. The extension was embraced by hundreds of libraries and by researchers looking to combat the problem of misinformation and disinformation online.

For businesses, NewsGuard’s business products introduced an extra layer of protection and a valuable Internet Trust Tool for their customers. Technology companies like Microsoft began integrating NewGuard’s ratings and data into their products. BrandGuard, NewsGuard’s brand safety product, helped advertisers and ad companies place advertisements on reliable sources while avoiding misinformation websites. NewsGuard’s products offered Internet and Mobile Providers a robust, powerful tool to protect their customers from online hoaxes. 

Download NewsGuard’s browser plugin today while it’s still free—and read below for highlights, insights, and metrics from NewsGuard’s first year of operation. 

Here are highlights of NewsGuard’s first year:

  • As of the end of August, NewsGuard has rated the 2,805 websites responsible for 96.01% of online engagement with news and information in the United States.
  • Of those sites, 834, or 29.7%, were given an overall RED rating signifying that they are generally unreliable.
  • Eleven percent—more than one in 10—of these news and information websites publish healthcare misinformation and hoaxes, such as that vaccines cause autism and fruit pits cure cancer. Of all the NewsGuard RED-rated sites, 37% are these healthcare misinformation sites.
  • As of the end of August, NewsGuard has rated, in the native language, 700 sites responsible for 90% of the news and information consumed and shared online in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Italy—countries where NewsGuard launched, with analysts and editors native to those countries, in May 2019. 
  • NewsGuard’s rapid-response SWAT team uses an alerting system to rate news sites in real time that have not already been rated but that suddenly appear to have produced content likely to pick up a large following in the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, or Italy. The fast labeling of news from RED-rated sites means this new misinformation and disinformation is less likely to be believed, shared or go viral.
  • Research by Gallup found that 63% of NewsGuard users are less likely to share news from RED-rated sites and 59% are more likely to share information from GREEN-rated sites.
  • More than 125,000 people around the world have downloaded the NewsGuard browser extension, and NewsGuard is one of the most popular features offered to Microsoft Edge Mobile users. Get NewsGuard here.
  • Across the U.S. and Europe, approximately 600 news and information sites have improved one or more editorial practices in order to improve how they score against NewsGuard’s nine criteria.
  • More than 300 libraries in the U.S. and Europe are deploying the NewsGuard browser extension as a news literacy tool used by thousands of daily visitors. Hundreds more libraries have plans to deploy NewsGuard in the coming months. This pro bono news literacy program, which is sponsored by Microsoft, is also being used by school systems in 35 states in the U.S.
  • Microsoft has partnered with NewsGuard so that its Edge Mobile users around the world have access to NewsGuard’s ratings and Nutrition Labels.
  • NewsGuard’s apolitical application of its nine journalistic criteria has been praised for its fairness and reliability by press outlets across the political spectrum and by legacy and new, online-only publishers alike.
  • Similarly, government officials in all of NewsGuard’s operating countries have voiced support for NewsGuard, as have political leaders on all sides of the political spectrum.
  • NewsGuard’s News Website Reliability Index is being used by researchers and regulators to monitor changes in the prevalence of misinformation on social media, search and other platforms. The University of Michigan’s “Iffy Quotient,” for example, uses NewsGuard’s RED-rated sites as its index for “iffy” sources.
  • Major advertisers are now using NewsGuard’s BrandGuard product to allow their millions of dollars in programmatic advertising to support legitimate online news organizations while not funding hoax healthcare or propaganda sites. In one case study, a top-10 brand used NewsGuard to enhance its brand safety operation and flagged or blocked 6.9 million ad impressions on hoax and misinformation websites (including state-run foreign propaganda sites, unreliable health sites pushing anti-vaccine content or fake cancer cures, and more).
  • NewsGuard rolled out a new set of offerings for Internet and Mobile Providers looking to address the problem of misinformation, disinformation and online hoaxes for their users. Research conducted by YouGov on NewsGuard’s behalf found that 85.5% of US adults think there is a problem with misinformation on the internet today (with 65% calling it a “significant problem”) and that 59.3% of respondents would trust their internet provider or mobile phone provider more just for providing NewsGuard ratings and labels as part of their offering.
  • Licensing agreements with leading Internet service providers and mobile phone providers in the U.S. and Europe are at the stage where they will be able to offer NewsGuard to their customers later this year or in 2020, much the way they offer other family-safety options, such as parental controls and protections against computer viruses.
  • NewsGuard is expanding its scope and its team so that ratings will soon be available for social media pages and video publishers that are not directly associated with a website.
  • NewsGuard is now planning expansions into more countries in Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
  • NewsGuard is in continuing discussions with search, social media, browser, and private messaging providers so that they can offer versions of NewsGuard.
  • NewsGuard’s Board of Advisors includes former Director of the CIA and NSA Gen. Michael Hayden, former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge, former NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, British Member of Parliament Ed Vaizey, former CEO of TCI and AT&T Broadband Leo Hindery, Jr., and Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales.

For more information about NewsGuard and to download the browser extension, click here: www.newsguardtech.com.

 To see how NewsGuard has earned the trust of users, librarians, teachers, licensees and advertisers, click here.