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Atlantic Council's NewsGuard

NewsGuard deploys journalists to issue trust ratings for thousands of news and information websites across the U.S. and Europe. After consultation with, and with the support of librarians whose patrons already enjoy free use of NewsGuard, government agencies, and NGOs in the U.S. and in Europe, we have decided to remove the paywall on our popular browser extension to help combat the misinformation about COVID-19 that is proliferating around the world.

The browser extension provides detailed green or red ratings and “Nutrition Labels” for more than 4,000 news and information sites representing 95% of news engagement online and flags with red ratings those that publish false or unreliable information. These include hundreds of sites that promote false and dangerous treatments for illnesses including COVID-19. NewsGuard is working with government agencies, public libraries, digital platforms, and internet service providers to alert their users that this tool is available free to users in the midst of the pandemic.

“Misinformation about COVID-19 is spreading quickly across the internet and endangering lives,” said NewsGuard Co-CEO Steven Brill. “We’re enlisting a wide range of companies and organizations to help address this with an urgent but simple public service campaign to help fight back.”

In recent weeks, NewsGuard’s team of analysts began noticing a number of websites spreading false information about COVID-19, including stories that went viral on social media platforms. In its Coronavirus Misinformation Tracking Center, NewsGuard so far has flagged 132 sites publishing misinformation about the illness. These falsehoods include claims that the virus can be prevented by swallowing bleach or colloidal silver, both of which can be fatal. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, NewsGuard data indicated that more than one in 10 of the news and information sites with which users engage each month across the U.S., U.K., France, Germany and Italy are sites that peddle healthcare hoaxes such as that 5G causes cancer, fruit pits cure cancer and vaccines cause autism.

NewsGuard was launched in September 2018 by media entrepreneur Steven Brill and former Wall Street Journal publisher Gordon Crovitz. The company provides credibility ratings and detailed “Nutrition Labels” for thousands of news and information websites.

NewsGuard rates all the news and information websites that account for 95% of online engagement across the U.S., U.K., Germany, France, and Italy.

More troubling still, Newsguard — by virtue of its deep connections to government and Silicon Valley — is lobbying to have its rankings of news sites installed by default on computers in U.S. public libraries, schools, and universities as well as on all smartphones and computers sold in the United States.

In other words, as Newsguard’s project advances, it will soon become almost impossible to avoid this neocon-approved news site’s ranking systems on any technological device sold in the United States. Worse still, if its efforts to quash dissenting voices in the U.S. are successful, Newsguard promises that its next move will be to take its system global.

Public Figures Associated with Newsguard

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