Facebook, Google, Twitter join tool that IDs 'trusted' news

After being slammed for proliferating hoax news, tech giants are joining a program that identifies articles from "trustworthy" news publishers.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is among the tech CEOs facing mounting pressure to increase protections against fake news stories. 
James Martin/CNET

After more than a year of being pilloried for their services spreading hoax news, tech giants Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft's Bing have signed up to a new program that identifies articles from "trusted" news sources. 

The initiative, spearheaded by a journalism ethics enterprise called the Trust Project, is being implemented by media companies comprising dozens of news sites. These publishers add indicators to their articles and site coding that clarifies the organizations' journalistic standards, writers' backgrounds and how they do their work. 

The indicators also show what type of information people are reading – news, opinion, analysis or advertising.

It's up to the tech companies, however, how they decide to utilize these "trusted-source" indicators. The Trust Project said Google, Facebook, Bing and Twitter have all agreed to use the indicators and they are "investigating and piloting ideas" about how to use them "to surface and display quality journalism."

The Washington Post, The Economist, Mic, The Globe and Mail, the Independent Journal Review, Italy's La Repubblica and La Stampa, Trinity Mirror and the German press agency dpa are among the companies starting with Trust Indicators this month.