Google's 'Project Owl' to curb fake news in its Search

Wikitribune

Google has done its best to play down the extent of fake news and hateful material - or what it prefers to call "low quality content" - in search results.

The examples were pretty unsettling, including Holocaust denials, a claim that President Barack Obama was running for a third term, and a wide range of other conspiracy theories.

Google search engine updated its algorithms to combat fake news.

Google has a team of evaluators - real people - to monitor the quality of Google's search results.

Google has also tweaked its search algorithms to ensure that "low-quality" content shows up lower in search results, which should minimize their reach.

Users will see options to report bad information that shows up in "Featured Snippets" - the little summary boxes that appear at the top or sides of Google searches.

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Initially, the content that appears in these features was generated algorithmically and is a reflection of what people are searching for and what's available on the web and that actually caused the aforementioned incident.

The problem, according to Google, is that 15 percent of all daily searches are brand new.

Further, for those unaware, Google (as well as YouTube) had recently been caught in hullaballoo surrounding the search results that were surfaced with regards to the World War Two holocaust.

Interestingly, to counter the epidemic of fake news and inappropriate content, the Mountain View, California-based search giant will be resorting to manual monitoring (read: human assistance). However, if recent trends are to be taken into account, it seems search engines such as Google are just as culpable - however unwittingly - in this growing phenomenon.

The second is the - um, well, involvement of humans, once again - but this time, it's users like you and I. By offering new ways to report fake news so Google can flag it or have it removed, the company is putting more perceived control into the hands of users. Google has committed to not censoring the search results. "These guidelines will begin to help our algorithms in demoting such low-quality content and help us to make additional improvements over time", Gomes said. Now, in an area below the link, Facebook will display the related articles even before users have clicked on the link. Google's help center page now explains its policy on autocomplete suggestions and content removal, while its "how it works site" now offers more information on search ranking. Clicking them, however, allows users to provide direct feedback. Feedback will be used to improve Google's algorithms.

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