Here are the nine criteria that NewsGuard uses to assess websites. Each criterion is worth a certain number of points out of 100, as indicated below. A site with a score of 60 points or higher receives a Green rating. A site with a score lower than 60 points receives a Red rating.
In every case, the NewsGuard Nutrition Labels that are provided for each site (by clicking on the rating) spell out the site’s adherence to each of the nine criteria that yielded that source’s particular rating.
The criteria below are listed in order of their importance in determining a Red rating. For example, failure to adhere to the first criterion—publishing false content—is more influential in determining a Red rating than failure to reveal information about content creators.
- Does not repeatedly publish false content: The site does not repeatedly produce stories that have been found—either by journalists at NewsGuard or elsewhere—to be clearly and significantly false, and which have not been quickly and prominently corrected. (22 Points. A label with a score lower than 60 points gets a Red rating.)
- Gathers and presents information responsibly: Content providers are generally fair and accurate in reporting and presenting information. They reference multiple sources, preferably those that present direct, firsthand information on a subject or event or from credible second hand news sources, and they do not egregiously distort or misrepresent information to make an argument or report on a subject. (18 Points)
- Regularly corrects or clarifies errors: The site makes clear how to report an error or complaint, has effective practices for publishing clarifications and corrections, and notes corrections in a transparent way. (12.5 Points)
- Handles the difference between news and opinion responsibly: Content providers who convey the impression that they report news or a mix of news and opinion distinguish opinion from news reporting, and when reporting news, do not egregiously cherry pick facts or stories to advance opinions. Content providers who advance a particular point of view disclose that point of view. (12.5 Points)
- Avoids deceptive headlines: The site generally does not publish headlines that include false information, significantly sensationalize, or otherwise do not reflect what is actually in the story. (10 Points)
- Website discloses ownership and financing: The site discloses its ownership and/or financing, as well as any notable ideological or political positions held by those with a significant financial interest in the site, in a user-friendly manner. (7.5 Points)
- Clearly labels advertising: The site makes clear which content is paid for and which is not. (7.5 Points)
- Reveals who’s in charge, including possible conflicts of interest: Information about those in charge of the content is made accessible on the site. (5 Points)
- The site provides the names of content creators, along with either contact or biographical information: Information about those producing the content is made accessible on the site. (5 Points)