Microsoft is expanding its war on fake news to the mobile front. The latest update for its Edge browser app incorporates a news-flagging feature that was previously only available on the desktop version as an optional plug-in.
Both the mobile and desktop versions of the feature are built on NewsGuard—a browser extension that uses journalists to spot fake news, rather than machine-learning algorithms or other third party websites and companies. There are pros and cons to this approach, but the upshot is that you have real people fact-checking and validating the website you’re reading.
Some browsers (like the mobile version of Edge) come with the extension pre-installed. Others will require you to add it yourself. In the next section, we’ll show you how to enable/disable the extension for all available browsers, and we’ll explain how to use it.
You can also get NewsGuard on the desktop version of Edge.
Chrome, Safari, and Firefox
For those who want to use NewsGuard on a different browser, you’ll need to install the plugin for either Chrome, Firefox, or Safari. However, these versions don’t show a website’s rating in the URL, like the mobile version of Edge, and instead give you an icon to look at (on the same toolbar as your browser’s other extensions).
On any of the desktop browsers, you’ll need to uninstall the NewsGuard add-on from your browser in order to remove it—this is usually as simple as right-clicking the extension’s icon and clicking “remove/uninstall from browser,” though you may need to find it in your browser’s plugin/extension settings in some cases.
When browsing, look for the icon (whether it’s in your browser’s address bar or elsewhere). This icon reflects a website’s rating based on NewsGuard’s appraisal criteria.
Here’s what the color-coding means:
Tapping on the NewsGuard icon (or hovering your mouse over it on desktop browsers) will display a quick explanation of why a website was given a particular rating. You can also tap or click the “get the full nutrition label” option for a more detailed explanation.
While you’ll see ratings for pretty much every major outlet and most other sources you’ll come across, not all websites will have a rating, especially non-news ones (in which case the icon will be white with a black outline). However, it’s possible you may come across a news source that does not have a rating. In that case, you can submit a page to be reviewed by tapping or clicking on NewsGuard icon and clicking “Submit.”