Internet Archive Starts Highlighting “Fact Checking” of Archived Pages

The Internet Archive is starting to highlight “fact-checking” organizations’ analysis of web pages to archived versions of those pagers contained within the archive.

Fact checking organizations and origin websites sometimes have information about pages archived in the Wayback Machine. The Internet Archive has started to surface some of these annotations for Wayback Machine users. We are attempting to preserve our digital history but recognize the issues around providing access to false and misleading information coming from different sources. By providing convenient links to contextual information we hope that our patrons will better understand what they are reading in the Wayback Machine.

For example, this archived article was allegedly part of a Russian disinformation campaign, so the Internet Archive now includes a text banner linking to a report about that disinformation page.

I’m skeptical of how useful this would be to the average person, however. The Internet Archive notice says,

This is an archived web page that was included in a report titled “Secondary Infektion”. Here is a link to it on the Live Web.

That is unlikely to make much sense to someone not already familiar with the Secondary Infektion disinformation campaign.

This is where it is a shame that some standardized method of third party annotation of web pages never emerged, despite many such efforts. It would be nice to have fact-checking extensions that worked similar to ad-blocking extensions, where users could subscribe to whatever fact-checking organizations they trusted and then received in-browser analyses of suspected disinformation.

Of course, the market for such a browser extension is likely even smaller than that for adblocking.

Leave a Reply