Google targets fake news, offensive search suggestions

Google is updating its search to demote fake news

"We've adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear", writes Ben Gomes, Google's executive in charge of search, in a blog post published today.

After today, a user who spotted an offensive autocomplete result will be able to flag it for Google's engineers to review.

Users can also provide direct feedback and flag problematic results from Google's AutoComplete and Featured Snippets field, which displays answers to search questions in a dedicated field above search results. He says that the problem now is the "spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information".

The problem, according to Google, is that 15 percent of all daily searches are brand new. Among other things, Google's search engine pointed to a website that incorrectly reported then President-elect Donald Trump had won the popular vote in the USA election, that President Barack Obama was planning a coup and that the Holocaust never occurred during World War II. Just like human editors at traditional media outlets have to curate content and separate fact from fiction, Google has to do the same on a massive scale for all the stuff published to the web.

This will enable Google to rank more authoritative sources highly while downranking fake content.

Google also says it is improving the guidelines its employees use to evaluate content that appears in search results.




Google announced Tuesday that it's changing how its search engine works to "surface more high quality content from the web".

Users will see options to report bad information that shows up in "Featured Snippets" - a.k.a., the little summary boxes that appear at the top or sides of Google searches.

Google's Automcomplete and Feature Snippets have both caused controversy recently for surfacing content that has not only been inaccurate, but has upset people.

Earlier this month, the tech giant started adding a "Fact Check" tag to some search results, showing whether or not the claims presented are true, false or somewhere in between.

To address the problem, Google began revising the closely guarded algorithms that generate its search with the help of 10,000 people who rate the quality and reliability of the recommendations during tests. Google says its new approach isn't meant to placate advertisers. "Some of the changes are already visible in terms of better results".

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