Google Announces Changes To Search Results

Google is updating its search to demote fake news

Google on Tuesday announced changes to how it delivers and ranks internet searches, the latest effort by the tech giant to weed out "fake news" and offensive content.

In addition to it, Google is adding new public feedback tools for its AutoComplete feature in its search bar.

The changes include tweaks to the algorithm that determines which search results appear on top.

Google has commenced tweaking its search algorithm to curb unscrupulous circulation of fake news and hate speeches online. This results in more effort on the part of users to look for particular information that can be considered fraudulent or hate speech, which Google has already made more hard to find, anyway. Just as 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.

There are trillions of searches on Google every year.

Facebook, where fake news stories and other hoaxes have widely circulated on its social network, also has been trying to stem the tide of misleading information by working with The Associated Press and other news organisations to review suspect stories and set the record straight when warranted. "This includes improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works", Ben Gomes, vice president, engineering, Google, said in a statement. Back in December, for instance, the top search result Google displayed when searching "did the Holocaust really happen?" was from a white supremacist website.

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Google says that its human evaluators should be able to spot those kinds of sites, and their feedback will assist the company in demoting them in overall search results.

If too much misleading information appears in Google's search results, the damage could go beyond harm to its reputation for reliability.

The existing feedback option for Featured Snippets has been updated to let users report examples of bogus, hateful, and vulgar information in the boxes.

"Fake news is careening out of control in some people's eyes, so advertisers are getting very skittish about it", Chiagouris said. Google's help center page now explains its policy on autocomplete suggestions and content removal, while its "how it works site" now offers more information on search ranking.

Facebook, which also received blowback for its slow response to mitigate the sharing of fake news and propaganda throughout the American election, now provides similar tools to publishers and users to identify and flag fake news. Google intends to use this feedback to improve its algorithms.

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