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Google applies the brakes to fake news

Google applies the brakes to f...
Today, Google gave an overview of its latest efforts to curb low-quality content like fake news and other misleading materials
Today, Google gave an overview of its latest efforts to curb low-quality content like fake news and other misleading materials
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Today, Google gave an overview of its latest efforts to curb low-quality content like fake news and other misleading materials
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Today, Google gave an overview of its latest efforts to curb low-quality content like fake news and other misleading materials
There are new user feedback tools for flagging offensive, incorrect or misleading information in Google's Autocomplete and Featured Snippets
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There are new user feedback tools for flagging offensive, incorrect or misleading information in Google's Autocomplete and Featured Snippets

In a fight against the type of "offensive or clearly misleading" results that make up about 0.25-percent of daily search traffic, Google has outlined new efforts to stymie the spread of fake news and other low-quality content like unexpected offensive materials, hoaxes and baseless conspiracy theories.

The search giant's first line of defense against this uniquely 21st-century spread of misinformation is actually an old-fashioned one: human intelligence. You might think it's running completely on algorithms and AI these days, but Google actually has human evaluators that perform searches, assess the results and provide feedback back to the company. Google has updated the guidelines for this team of Search Quality Raters.

Now, raters have more detailed instructions for identifying low-quality search results. The improved feedback from these human testers will then inform changes to Google's search algorithms, so false and misleading content appears lower in the results.

Google has also fine-tuned underneath the hood. It has adjusted ranking signals specifically with the intention of demoting problematic content. 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.

There are new user feedback tools for flagging offensive, incorrect or misleading information in Google's Autocomplete and Featured Snippets
There are new user feedback tools for flagging offensive, incorrect or misleading information in Google's Autocomplete and Featured Snippets

Lastly, there are also new direct feedback tools, through which users can flag problem content that appears in Google' Autocomplete and Featured Snippets features. These are tools that help you arrive more quickly at the content you're looking for, but since their content is generated automatically, it is sometimes problematic. A "Report inappropriate predictions" link now appears under the Google search box, and a "Feedback" option now appears below the featured Snippet.

Google isn't the only major platform battling fake news – social media giant Facebook and other major tech companies are also funding solutions to curb the problem.

Source: Google

11 comments
BrandonVirgin
Are climate change stories fake? Are stories that deny climate change fake? Who decides? It will boil down to the bias of the human evaluators. I am sure they have good intentions. I wonder where that road will lead? In case you do not know, the answer is censorship (hell).
sk8dad
While questions regarding censorship do arise, I would also argue that we are already in a propaganda hell now. We are inundated with a spectrum of innuendos to purposefully misleading content based on dubious agenda that range from the annoying to the nefarious. At least, in this case, whether one sees it as censorship or simple fact-checking, there is a process, that can be reviewed and/or audited whereas in the case of propaganda, who's doing the checking?
Daishi
Title should read "Google applies the brakes to fake and offensive news" because there is a huge difference between fake and offensive. Does genitalia define your gender? How many genders are there? Can something be hate speech if it has religious origin? Is race more than skin deep? Is Islamophobia offensive? Should blasphemy be prohibited speech? Can facts like crime statistics be hate speech? Are immigrant crime statistics hate speech? Is religion a conspiracy theory? Is the concept of national borders racist? Is it racist to lock the doors in your home? There is a constant and ongoing effort for people to deplatform views they do not agree with by calling them offensive and people have different opinions of what is offensive. For many people offensive means "anything that challenges my world view". I wholly disagree with mass censorship based on what a small committee of people brand offensive under the banner of fighting "fake news". I have mostly left leaning views but this whole thing feels like an excuse mostly by the left to mass censor the "alt-right". With great power comes great responsibility. What are the consequences for the things they censor incorrectly or with clear political motive? None? Oh joy.
highlandboy
"Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Benjamin Franklin
That being said, with every right comes a responsibility. The right of free speech comes with a responsibility to be truthful and to not cause harm. The torts of slander and libel, and the crime of perjury are all based on this. Unfortinately the courts are both too slow and too expensive for them to be effective. If we can not let the courts decide based on the weight of evidence, then we are left with some form of censorship. Google is after all a company providing a search engine. They are not bound to give results on every incidence of an item on the Web, but one could argue that they owe a duty of care to all using their service. As a result censorship may even be considered responsible. As another famous person said "I may not agree with you, but I will fight to protect your right to say it" (Evelin Hall summarising the teaching of Voltaire)
Anne Ominous
I fail to see how anyone could consider this anything BUT censorship.
This doesn't bode well for Google.
bugler1
Thanks to internet the mass media lies are being exposed so censorship has be increased.
Global Genius
There are endless examples of what some young ignorant indoctrinated by the schooling system worker at Google may consider fake news and it is the real truth that must get out. Take Ecuador recent new elected President as an example. There are testament type of videos in YouTube where he is accused of committing the horrendous crime of kidnapping and in the process got shot in the back by a body guard; this is the real story of how this thug got in a wheelchair. Should this news get out to the public? I say yes!!! or should Google police this piece of news because he is going to be President in a few days?
ezeflyer
Bad idea. Google will lose lots of clients over this censorship.
Altairtech
This whole affair about Fake News startted just after Trump was elected. The independent journalists who had been watching the scene for quite some time, quickly realized that the MSM were NOT honest at all in their presentations of the facts. The term "Fake News" was soon created to describe them. Later, when their differents escalated to the level of a war, the MSM being heavily controlled by the leftist Empire, retaliated by using the very same term towards everyone who tried to criticize them. This was the beginning of the suppression of free speech, and now with Google and others joining-in, the left has only managed to bring us closer to a civil war. People will never allow their liberties to be taken away. So why does the establishment continues to try to keep us in the dark about everything?
Basil
The next big issue will be false positives - valid and correct news that is culled in error. Unfortunately Google after more than 10 years is not capable of reducing the false positive rate in gmail - fortunately you can still find these errors in the gmail spam folder, but there is unlikely to be any such facility in their news feeds or search results.