Google Announces Plans to Combat Spread of Fake News, Once Again

Google Fake News
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* Google continues ongoing effort to combat spread of fake news
* Changes in search engine algorithm will aim to filter misleading results
* Facebook and Google have increased protection against fake news after 2016 presidential election

Google’s efforts to combat the circulation of fake news continue, with changes to their search engine tool. The company announced Tuesday that it will alter the algorithm of its search engine in order to filter out misleading news sources and fake news stories from search results, making the returned content much more selective.

Facebook and Google have been cracking down on protecting users from fake news and related content in recent months, especially after generating intense criticism following the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this month, Google news added a fact checking feature to their news story results and Facebook recently enhanced their spam and Facebook detection features, shutting down over 30,000 fake accounts prior to the presidential election in France.

One of biggest topics prompting the tech giants to take action against fake news is holocaust denial. In statement on Google’s official blog page, the company’s VP of engineering said, “We’ve adjusted our signals to help surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content, so that issues similar to the Holocaust denial results that we saw back in December are less likely to appear.”

Google will also update their “Search Quality Rate Guidelines,” introducing a filtering system evaluated by humans—not algorithms—with expanded categories subject to review, including misleading information, unexpected offensive content, hoaxes and “unsupported conspiracy theories.”

Despite Google’s proactive efforts to improve search engine results, analysts note that out of the nearly 5.5 billion searches that Google has per day, only about 0.25% of the results contain false or misleading information.