Microsoft's internet browser is cautioning against the Mail Online in its fight against the spread of fake news after it ranked the title's journalism at a barrel-scraping one out of five for credibility – placing it on the same level as Kremlin mouthpiece RT.
Users of the Edge browser are presented with a warning message when they attempt to navigate to the dailymail.co.uk urging them to look elsewhere for accuracy.
The message reads: “Proceed with caution: this website generally fails to maintain basic standards of accuracy and accountability.”
The intervention has been generated by Newsguard, a third-party startup which claims to be an independent arbiter of quality journalism, achieved by manually checking individual sites to ensure they meet its standards.
Microsoft now installs it automatically on all mobile editions of Edge with Newsguard hopeful it could be rolled out to other browsers in due course.
Justifying its lowly Mail Online ranking Newsguard co-founder Steve Brill told the Guardian: “We spell out fairly clearly in the label exactly how many times we have attempted to contact them. The analyst that wrote this writeup got someone on the phone who, as soon he heard who she was and where she was calling from, hung up. As of now, we would love to hear if they have a complaint or if they change anything.”
In a statement to The Drum, a Mail Online spokesperson said: "We have only very recently become aware of the NewsGuard start-up and are in discussions with them to have this egregiously erroneous classification resolved as soon as possible."
The move follows a row last year in which Virgin Trains was accused of 'censorship' for removing the Daily Mail from sale, a decision subsequently reversed by Sir Richard Branson.