Google has announced their plan on how they are going to combat the circulation of “fake news” on their search engine. They plan to integrate new tools that will allow users to report misleading or offensive content, as well as also pledging to improve the results that their algorithm generates.
The announcement from Google has come after the months of pressure and scrutiny that the tech giant has been facing over the quality of the results being produced by searches. This has included the suggestions being brought up by the autocomplete feature, which has been promoting the idea of climate change being a hoax.
When typing in the search bar, Google provides an autocomplete function that suggests searches based upon the characters that the user has entered. You will now be able to complain about any misleading, inaccurate or hateful content that is suggested by Google’s autocomplete function.
They have also said that they plan to refine the search engine to “surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content”.
In a blogpost Ben Gnomes, vice-president of engineering, Google Search acknowledged the threat of fake news: “In a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system. The most high-profile of these issues is the phenomenon of ‘fake news’, where content on the web has contributed to the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive, or downright false information.”
The user feedback mechanism has been designed so that users can inform Google directly of any sensitive or unhelpful content that they may find. This will then allow Google to adjust the way that a page is ranked in search results.
Users will also be allowed to report the “feature snippets” – The name Google gives the boxes which appear at the top of a search result that contain answers to commonly searched queries – as these have also been known to spread fake news.