Internet Archive To Start Linking To Fact Checks Of Some Archived Pages

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.orgCheck Your FactLead StoriesPolitifactWashington Post Fact-CheckerAP News Fact CheckUSA Today Fact CheckGraphikaStanford Internet Observatory, and 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 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. 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.

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