Published: Thu, April 27, 2017
Hi-Tech | By Merle Christensen

Google rewrites its powerful search rankings to bury fake news

Google rewrites its powerful search rankings to bury fake news

With the tech giant still under a lot of pressure to do something about fake news and offensive content, Google is employing a new method to reduce the presence and visibility of either problem.

"Fake News" is a common term now-a-days for general public.

Google announced its first attempt to combat the circulation of "fake news" on its search engine with new tools allowing users to report misleading or offensive content, and a pledge to improve results generated by its algorithm. There, users will be able to report offensive, incorrect, hateful, vulgar, violent, misleading content. Users can also do the same for offensive autocomplete suggestions.

Starting today, it will be easier to flag such content that appears in both Autocomplete and Featured Snippets. Google has definitely felt the pressure in these past months from fake news as well as inappropriate search results. 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.

Understandably so! After all, Google, Bing, and other major search engines are often the vehicle for propagandist and mischievous elements in the society to push their agenda into the browsers of unsuspecting users. This helps to increase convenience among users, but it also has the disadvantage of helping fake news and offensive content to spread. "While our search results will never be flawless, we're as committed as always to preserving your trust and to ensuring our products continue to be useful for everyone". Google and Facebook are two of the most prominent names who were called out for propagating false news stories during the U.S presidential elections.

In their official blog the Google explained, "Our algorithms help identify reliable sources from the hundreds of billions of pages in our index".

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Gomes says: "Our algorithms have always had to grapple with individuals or systems seeking to "game" our systems in order to appear higher in search results-using low-quality "content farms", hidden text and other deceptive practices".

The next area they've addressed is Snippets, which are those information boxes that appear on top of a search results page.

Google has repeatedly downplayed the prevalence of fake-news.

Nothing drove home the point better than the last USA presidential elections when seemingly incorrect information sought to improve the chances of Donald Trump.

But until now it hasn't offered a comprehensive answer to its challenges with fake news, such as the recent finding that a top result on Google search for "Did the Holocaust happen" linked to a neo-Nazi site. "These feedbacks would be helpful to us in improving our algorithms", Gomes added.

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