A three-year-old news credibility rating service has weighed into the Australasian market with a claim that almost a fifth of news sites are ‘untrustworthy’.
The subscription-based NewsGuard service says 19 per cent of news sites in Australia and 18 per cent of those in New Zealand, placing them “towards the middle of the pack” with more engagement with low-reliability sites than in the UK (15 per cent) or Canada (four per cent), but lower than the US (46 per cent), France (33 per cent or Germany (25 per cent).
NewsGuard claims it “journalist-led data and misinformation research” aims to help counter information warfare. Ratings are accessible to consumers and organisations who purchase a subscription to the platform.
Co-founder and joint chief executive Gordon Crovitz says the service has protected “internet users, brands, and democracies” from the evolving threats of misinformation since 2018.
Human-vetted insights “support quality journalism and systemically defund sources of harmful misinformation,” he says.
Launched by former Wall Street Journal publisher Crovitz and media entrepreneur and journalist Steven Brill, the rating service aims to provide credibility ratings and detailed ‘nutrition labels’ for news and information websites.
The Australian rollout adds to the platform’s presence in the US, UK, Italy, France and Germany, where it claims to rate all news and information websites that account for 95 per cent of online engagement.
NewsGuard says “climate-related false narratives” circulate widely in Australia and New Zealand, with half of the sites that regularly publish false content in Australia having published disinformation on climate change. Examples of popular narratives include “the rise in global sea levels is not accelerating,” “human activity does not contribute to climate change,” and “extreme weather is not getting worse”.
Work with Microsoft also extends to a library sponsorship through which NewsGuard says it is extending its global media literacy partnership programme to public libraries in Australia and New Zealand, which will give patrons free access to NewsGuard’s browser extension.
NewsGuard is making public the results for The Conversation, 360info and ConspiracyDailyUpdate.com as examples.
Pictured: NewsGuard’s Russia-Ukraine disinformation tracking centre