The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit providing free public access to digitized materials, including a substantial archive of web pages in the Wayback Machine announced they will start adding a fact check banner to some pages in the archive.
Relying on third party checking organizations including FactCheck.org, Check Your Fact, Lead Stories, Politifact, Washington Post Fact-Checker, AP News Fact Check, USA Today Fact Check, Graphika, Stanford Internet Observatory, and Our.news The Internet Archive will sometimes use a banner overlay to provide links to contextual information while “attempting to preserve our digital history”
A blog post announcing the feature reads in part,
“As an example, Politifact has investigated a claim included in a webpage that we archived. Our.news has matched this URL to the Politifact review which allowed us to provide a yellow context banner for Wayback Machine patrons.“
The blog posts shows several examples of the simple yellow overlay showing a fact check.
However simple the overlay, some have criticized The Internet Archive for failing to live up to its promise as a digital archive. Reclaimthenet.org wrote they “either are an archive and a digital library, or you’re a curated publication with editorialized content” and even speculated this move could harm the “credibility, and even long-term relevance” of The Internet Archive.
I don’t know how “editorialized” I’d call a yellow banner with a link to a fact checking site with no other changes to the content on the archive. The sentence above is an example of editorializing. A banner link to a fact checking source can clearly be argued is editorializing, but the “editorial” doesn’t change the utility of the archive.
Mason Pelt, is a guest author for Internet News Flash. He’s been a staff writer for SiliconANGLE and has written for TechCrunch, VentureBeat, Social Media Today and more.
He’s a Managing Director of Push ROI, Inc. and acted as an informal adviser when building the first Internet News Flash website.