What liability should there be for software that rates retracted stories as "credible"?

Microsoft’s Newsguard software gives credibility ratings for news stories. According to some reports, the software apparently rates some retracted stories as “credible” even though they have been proven to be false. Here is one reported example:

Rolling Stone (which NewsGuard gave a passing grade) was eventually forced to retract the story and settle some lawsuits, but the far-left HuffPost’s aggregation of Rolling Stone’ s proven lie is still live, and that green checkmark is NewsGuard’s way of telling readers they are reading something credible:


Do software suppliers have any liability for labeling retracted and debunked stories as “credible” under slander laws? If not, should they be liable?

What about rating stories that are factually correct as “fake news”? Do they have any liability in that case?

Or should they be exempt from liability regardless of the correctness of their credibility ratings?

Slander, like libel requires a burden of proof that defendants knew said speech or text was false. You wanna be the lawyer that goes in front of a court and tries to convince judges that a computer knew ■■■■ was false and pushed it out anyway.

Hope you end up in front of Judge Killroy.

Bonus points for anyone who gets that reference.

So the programmers and sellers of the software have no liability since it is the “computer’s fault”?

People just need to listen to Rush and go to GatewayPundit for their true news.

Why should they? It’s up to individuals to use their heads and know what’s real and what isn’t.

A few years back a RV owner sued the manufacturer because they were under the belief that the damn thing would drive itself based on all the nice things advertised about it and the price he paid.

Low and behold it crashed when he left the wheel. No where did the manufacturer claim it could do as the owner thought it would.

In the case of a software making a determination as to the credibility of a story, well you face an uphill battle, because what you think is debunked is easily reputable by someone else.

What sort of “liability” are you referring to?

It’s not illegal to be wrong, or even to lie.

So it is fine if the software rates factually correct stories from Breitbart as “fake news” but rates even retracted stories from the HuffPost as “credible”?

Does it matter if Microsoft were to refuse to correct its ratings based on actual facts?

It’s almost as if people think that they are guaranteed the truth about everything they see and hear.

I’ve got just one guarantee for anyone living on this planet. Your ass is gonna die at some point.

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If sites lose ad revenue because of knowingly incorrect and biased credibility ratings, logically the sites could sue for damages related to lost revenue.

My opinion is it would be akin to knowingly spreading false rumors that a restaurant was serving tainted food.

Don’t like it… don’t use it.

Seems easy enough to me.

News media make mistakes all the time. They frequently make retractions to rectify those mistakes.

Should Microsoft also have an obligation to make retractions about incorrect credibility ratings?

what damage or pain and suffering did you incur?

Rolling Stone was forced to retract its story based threat of lawsuits under slander laws.

Claiming that the story only went to people who subscribed to the magazine does not remove the liability.

Can a movie studio sue a critic over a bad review?

If Microsoft was giving snowflake ratings based on political correctness rather than alleged credibility ratings, I doubt there would be much complaint from news organizations that get low ratings.

Likewise rating story as “credible” that has been retracted because it was factually incorrect and potentially libelous would appear to open Microsoft up to libel suits.


Opinions can’t be defamatory.

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Why would anyone buy this software to begin with? Seems like a waste of money to me.

Doesn’t matter.

No one is forcing the service on you.

Deliberately stating falsehoods as facts is not the same as opinion.

Knowingly rating a false report as credible or knowingly rating a factually correct report as fake news may not just be question of opinion. Depending on the details, it may be the same as knowingly repeating a false rumor.