Google wants your help to tackle fake news

Google is updating its search to demote fake news

Google is tweaking its search algorithms to deliver better search results and limit the spreading of fake news.

The search engine's parent company, Alphabet Inc., announced its plans to change a fundamental component of its algorithm that previously allowed false information to be sent straight to the top of its results pages. Google is also setting new rules encouraging its "raters" - the 10,000-plus staff that assess search results - to flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and what the company calls "low-quality" content. Now, quality raters can use more detailed tags meant to target pages that intentionally produce misleading information.

Google is also implementing Feedback links for users to report on the accuracy of autocomplete search queries and Featured Snippet text. The company didn't specify how many queries that really is - but the search-engine-focused news site Search Engine Land reported that Google estimated in 2015 that it handles 3 billion searches per day. Many offensive or fake news get more priority on Google search and displayed on top, which should not be. It has taken the shape of false and misleading content and is defined by its very own term - fake news. Although it has existed long before Google burst onto the scene, the SEO (Search Engine Optimization) industry boomed in no small part thanks to Google's PageRank system.

"We were highlighting low-quality content in search results", he said.


Since the USA election, several companies including Google and Facebook have taken steps to deal with false information that looks legitimate being passed through their products. These signals have now been adjusted (not explained how?) but Google mentions that it'll now enable them to surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content. With the aim to deliver more long-term and impactful changes to Search, Google has announced key updates to its algorithms and introduced additional features to address the challenges with locating relevant from the most reliable sources available.

"They simply give feedback about whether the results are good".

The issue of fake news or what used to be known as political propaganda, came to the forefront during the presidential campaign in 2016, when it appears that the Russian government was working to help create and spread fake news in an effort to derail the campaign of Hillary Clinton. Instead, some of them involve fake news where people make things up. The search snippets are boxes of concise information that appear above search results. Feedback will be used to improve Google's algorithms.

Another big change coming to Google would be that the search engine will start concentrating more on "more authoritative" information.

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