Microsoft Edge’s NewsGuard extension has moved away from its free status to a subscription model. The company announced the plans early this year, meaning it’s an expected but somewhat disappointing move.
The extension will now set users back $3 a month for continued usage. It’s not a hefty fee by any means, but it’s likely to put many off. The add-on’s main mission is to combat fake news, so limiting access feels somewhat counter-intuitive.
That said, this development was largely inevitable. The company employs trained journalists, and that kind of help won’t come at all cheap. Admittedly, NewsGuard is introducing a number of new functionalities with its subscription, which include:
- “A reliability rating score of 0-100 for each site based on its performance on our nine criteria.
- Access to NewsGuard’s upcoming mobile apps for iOS and Android.
- Access to each edition of the Misinformation Monitor, our newsletter about online misinformation in the U.S. and Europe.”
These build on the service’s existing functionality, which includes categorized ratings for each site, ratings next to links, summaries of site ownership, and political affiliations.
A couple of competitors to NewsGuard exist, including The Factual, a Chrome extension that will also work on Chromium Edge. The extension itself will remain free, while a paid newsletter will give access to more premium features. However, it’s worth noting that NewsGuard boasts 95% coverage and relies on expert review rather than datasets and machine learning.
Those who want to try NewsGuard before purchasing can make use of its 2-week free trial. You have to enter credit card details to do so but can cancel at any time. You can find out more about the service’s new model on its official site.