Microsoft fights fake news with NewsGuard integration in its mobile Edge browser

You'll need to dig into Edge's Settings to turn it on, though.

microsoft edge newsguard untrusted site crop
Mark Hachman / IDG

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In a bid to fight fake news read while on your phone, Microsoft’s mobile Edge browser on Android and iOS now includes the NewsGuard extension.

The addition, noted by The Guardian, needs to be toggled on within the Edge settings menu to be enabled. Once it is, Edge will display a small shield icon next to the site’s URL in the search bar: a green shield with a checkmark for a trusted news site, and a red shield with an exclamation point inside of it for a site that NewsGuard believes isn’t always accurate. (Some sites haven’t been evaluated, and these will simply show a gray shield.)

microsoft edge newsguard untrusted site crop Mark Hachman / IDG

In this screenshot captured by Microsoft Edge on Android, NewsGuard recommends that you “Proceed with caution: This website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”

NewsGuard isn’t there to protect you from phishing or to alert you that the site may be hosting a bad ad that may infect your phone. Instead, it’s there as a sort of anti-malware for your mind. Clicking on the shield brings up a summary of how NewsGuard sees the site, from a responsible presenter of information, to correcting errors quickly, to clearly labeling ads. In certain cases, sites will be given a green shield but NewsGuard will flag problems that won’t be revealed unless you click on the shield.

Microsoft edge newsguard trusted boston crop Mark Hachman / IDG

This site, according to NewsGuard, “generally maintains basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”

It’s a proactive move for Microsoft, which does not offer the same sort of integration within its desktop Edge browser. There, NewsGuard is merely an available extension. (To enable it, you’ll need to access the ellipsis menu in the top right-hand corner, navigate to Extensions, then manually search for the NewsGuard plugin.)

Within the mobile browser, though, NewsGuard is off by default. You’ll need to go into the Settings menu, scroll down to News rating, and then toggle on NewsGuard. Note that Edge also has a built-in relationship with Adblock Plus, which you can toggle on under Content blockers.

Microsoft Edge newsguard setting 2 Mark Hachman / IDG

You’ll need to enter the Edge settings to toggle NewsGuard on.

What this means for you: The problem is that the only way to enable this on your phone is to download Edge manually, access the Settings, turn on the feature, and enable Edge as your default browser, rather than the default Chrome (or Safari) browser—which is what probably 99 percent of all users already have configured. That’s a lot of steps to help stop your crazy uncle from forwarding the latest viral news story that Barack Obama was born on Venus. But every little bit counts, right? 

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