NewsGuard

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Group.png NewsGuard
(Propaganda, Mass surveillanceTwitter WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
NewsGuard RT.png
NewsGuard warns that RT is unreliable
Founder• Steven Brill
• Gordon Kravitz
InterestsFake news
SubpageNewsGuard/Advisory Board
A tech company which is teaming up with Microsoft as regards "fake news"

NewsGuard is a company which purports to tackle "disinformation" through its browser extension.

Activities

“A new app claiming to serve as a bulwark against "disinformation" by adding "trust rankings" to news websites has links to a PR firm that received nearly $15 million to push pro-Saudi spin in US media, Breitbart reports. NewsGuard and its shady advisory board – consisting of truth-lovers such as Tom Ridge, the first-ever homeland security chief, and former CIA director Michael Hayden – came under scrutiny after Microsoft announced that the app would be built into its mobile browsers. A closer examination of the company's publicly listed investors, however, has revealed new reasons to be suspicious of this self-declared crusader against propaganda. As Breitbart discovered, NewsGuard's third-largest investor, Publicis Groupe, owns a PR firm that has repeatedly airbrushed Saudi Arabia.”
Anonymous (29 January 2019)  [1]

Criticism

Breitbert notes that "WikiLeaks, which has never had to retract a story due to false or misleading information, is also given a “red” rating in contrast to the "green" which it gives to BuzzFeed, which was recently humiliated for publishing alleged details about the ongoing Mueller investigation that were contradicted by the spe[c]ial prosecutor himself. BuzzFeed did not retract the story, and even led with it on its frontpage … after Mueller contradicted it."[2]

Uncritical usage by Wikipedia

Whitney Webb described in 2019 How a Small Group of Pro-Israel Activists Blacklisted MintPress on Wikipedia. The article describes, among other things, how Wikipedia cited Mint Press News' unfavourable rating from Newsguard, "several months after MintPress authored a viral exposè of Newsguard’s connections to neoconservatives and former government officials, including former CIA director Michael Hayden."[3]

Tracking users

For each site someone with Newsguard installed visit, there will be a connection to "http://api.newsguardtech[.]com/check/[hostname of visited site]". The result will be cached locally for at most 30 minutes. The gathered information include the hostname of the site loaded in the current tab - i.e. more browsing history leakage.[4]

"NewsGuard" will get this information:

  • The sites you visit
  • When you visited these sites, +- 30 minutes, or with better accuracy if you open the extension's popup panel
  • Your public IP address
  • Your browser, OS, language (through HTTP headers)

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References