Published: Wed, April 26, 2017
Research | By Chelsea Rogers

Google tweaks search algorithms to fight fake news and 'offensive' content

Google tweaks search algorithms to fight fake news and 'offensive' content

It added: "As part of that process, we have evaluators - real people who assess the quality of Google's search results - give us feedback on our experiments".

The announcement in a blog post Tuesday reflects Google's confidence in a new screening system created to reduce the chances that its influential search engine will highlight untrue stories about people and events, a phenomenon commonly referred to as "fake news".

For example, right now users who type "are black" into a Google search bar might see autocomplete suggestions such as "are black people smart", which leads to a search page topped by a story about the offensiveness of that autocomplete suggestion, followed by a Fox News article claiming a DNA connection to intelligence, and a fourth article with the headline: "Black people aren't human".

According to Google, the site sees searches in the trillions each year, with 15% of searches made each day being entirely new.

Gomes writes that such results "are less likely to appear" under the changes announced this week.

Fighting fake news can be tricky because in some cases what is viewed as being blatantly misleading by one person might be interpreted as being mostly true by another. The new guidelines specifically call out the kind of misleading info, "unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories" that have been the subject of criticism and anger when found returned as a result of relatively innocuous queries by Google Search users.

Google has done its best to play down the extent of fake news and hateful material - or what it prefers to call "low quality content" - in search results.

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The plan also includes establishing timelines for elevator fix so that they aren't broken so often in condos and apartments. It will also introduce a C$125 million ($93 million) five-year program to encourage construction of new apartments.

Google also planned to change its "autocomplete" tool, which suggests search terms, to allow users to more easily to flag up troubling content, he said.

Questions are bound to be raised about whether this panel, which Google says is representative of its users, is impartial and objective.

The company is now allowing users to flag results that are offensive or unhelpful, in both the autocomplete suggestions and the featured results.

Although it also sells ads on its other services and independently owned websites, Google still makes most of its money from the marketing links posted alongside its search results. He says there are trillions of searches on Google every year with 15 percent of them being new on a daily basis.

What Google's feedback will look like for autosuggested searches.

Content problems with Google's featured snippets may even be more serious.

From Facebook to Wikipedia, internet organizations are focusing efforts more than ever before to crack down on fake news - poor-quality web content that typically spreads through misleading, often offensive headlines.

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