Google Changing Search Engine to Combat 'Fake News' and 'Hate Speech'

26 April, 2017, 08:48 | Author: Jacqueline Ellis
  • Google Changing Search Engine to Combat 'Fake News' and 'Hate Speech'

Vice president of engineering at Google Search, Ben Gomes, admits that people have been trying to "game" the system - working against the spirit of the objective of algorithms - to push poor-quality content and fake news higher up search results.

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.

April 25 google has sprinkled some new ingredients into its search engine in an effort to prevent bogus information and offensive suggestions from souring its results.

It marks the latest move by Google to try to fight fake news after it and rival Facebook faced criticism for doing too little to block misinformation during the USA presidential election a year ago. Google has also tweaked its algorithms to prioritize authoritative results. As is typical of the more behind-the-scenes aspects of its ranking system, Google does not detail the specifics of these changes, but it did cite Holocaust denial results that appeared in December 2016 as an example of the type of problem it hopes to resolve.

Google also has reprogrammed a popular feature to omit derogatory suggestions from its automated recommendations of search requests. 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.

The search engine company announced some changes to search results in order to fight fake news and offensive content.

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In particular, he said, many groups and organisations were using "fake news" to help spread "blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information". We plan to use this feedback to help improve our algorithms.

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

Google also promised to open up over how it makes such decisions in the future, although there remained criticism over its lack of transparency. That work is also supposed to help train Google's algorithms to keep fake news, hoaxes, conspiracy theories, etc. out of your feed.

But the fact that searches such as "Is Obama planning a coup?" - or even "Who invented stairs?" - produced such questionable results meant it had to act.

The process for flagging a featured snippet error.

What Google's feedback will look like for autosuggested searches. "Some of the changes are already visible in terms of better results. That's impossible. But I do hope we see continued improvement in the weeks and months to come".

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