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Frequently Asked Questions

How does Candle Search work?

Candle's search results are based on Bing and NewsAPI for realtime news coverage. During the beta, quality evaluations are based on a meta-analysis of multiple third-party sources such as Allsides, Media Bias Fact Check, Wikipedia's Reliable Sources list, Snopes, Poynter, Politifact, and others. We will be rolling out our proprietary evaluation methodology during the beta. The evaluation details will inform you of the source of the evaluation.

What does it mean that you're in “beta”?

The beta label means that we are actively developing the product. It is a geeky way of saying that something may break and that the paint is not dry yet.

How does Candle treat privacy?

We take protecting the privacy of our users very seriously.

  • We do not employ tracking codes around the internet. We simply don't follow you around.
  • We use Fathom* for our website analytics. Fathom identifies repeated visits within 24h using anonymized one-way hashes that cannot be identified with an individual user. After 24h, even these anonymized identifiers are destroyed.
  • * The link to Fathom is an affiliate link, and Candle may earn a revenue commission for new customers. That said, we highly recommend Fathom in case you are looking for a privacy-first analytics tool.
  • In case you're taking a closer look at the website, the analytics code is loaded from sturgeon.searchtester.com.
  • Using a privacy-first analytics solution also means we are GDPR compliant, and do not need to seek cookie consent from the visitors (none of those annoying cookie notices on Candle!).
  • We may introduce features that enable you to log into an account, save settings, or have other control over your experience. When that happens, this too will be implemented in a way that is private and secure.
  • During our beta release we may experiment with other third-party tools on the website, which may include their own tracking software. We aim to remove or replace such tools as soon as possible.

How do your evaluations work?

The purpose of Candle's evaluations is to give our users an easy, insightful way to learn about the quality and type of content. Read more about our evaluations here.

How do you decide what is trustworthy?

At launch of the Candle Search beta, most of the trustworthiness and neutrality ratings will be based on evaluations from established third-party sources (see How does Candle Search work? above).

In applying our own methodology, we base our evaluations on sampling fresh content from the target sites we evaluate. These sampled articles and pages are read by an expert panel of evaluators who identify different signals and record how they affect the neutrality and trustworthiness of a piece of content. For sufficiently well documented claims we will also employ fact-checking. The work of the human evaluators is augmented with machine learning.

Does a high score mean the information is true?

No, not exactly. We evaluate sources based on their recent track record of published work. Candle's evaluations are different from fact-checking: we don't attempt to tell you what is true and what is false. We aim to expose the quality of the source in useful detail, allowing our users to make up their own minds about what information to trust.

What's the difference between trustworthiness and neutrality?

Trustworthiness is an amalgam measure of factuality, credibility, intent to inform, and good journalistic practices (where applicable). Neutrality reflects the motive and intent of the source. A source can publish highly factual information but still have an agenda or advocate for a certain viewpoint. Conversely, a source can be impartial and neutral while publishing information that shouldn't be trusted.

Why should I trust you?

Candle will always attempt to be objective and evidence-based. We do not stand for a party identity or viewpoint, but we also refuse to "represent both sides" of arguments that are matters of fact and not of opinion. You will not see us give equal credence to scientific and anti-scientific arguments, and we will not recommend viewpoints that are based on falsehoods or for which evidence is lacking.

Hey, you are wrong about X.

We may well be, but we aim to be as little wrong as possible and we make the reasons behind our evaluations clear. To let us know about an error in our search results, please email [email protected].

Why did you create Candle?

We created Candle because we were frustrated to see the decade-long misinformation trend lead to an accelerating spread of distrust and entrenchment of opinions. Equally frustrating has been the refusal on the part of search engines and social networks to take responsibility for their role as de facto sources of credibility for the assertions they disseminate on behalf of others.

Candle is our step towards a more trustworthy internet, where it is safer for everyone to consume information. We have many more steps to take.

How does Candle make money?

We currently have Amazon Associates links automatically appended to any search results pointing to Amazon.com and its affiliated sites. Amazon may pay us commission for any purchases made on the site that have originated in our search results. This does not, however, affect the ranking of links to Amazon in any way in the results. We do not associate any Amazon Associates data with user data.