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Google wants to go after fake news in search with new feedback tools
The term “fake news” has now become a common one for the general public, but it started on the internet as sites began popping up that posted content that was, at best, misleading and, at the worst, flat out false or offensive. Today, Google announced it will be taking action to reduce the amount of fake news and content that shows up in its search results.
In a blog post today, Google said that about 0.25 percent of the search results in its daily traffic were coming up with what it called “offensive or clearly misleading content, which is not what people are looking for.” The company said that earlier this month, it made some changes to its Search Quality Rater Guidelines who are used by human “evaluators” that check the quality of Google’s search results and provide feedback back to the company. The new guidelines include details of what Google calls “low-quality websites” that might have “misleading information, unexpected offensive results, hoaxes and unsupported conspiracy theories.”
In addition, it has made changes to its search signals that will also bring up more accurate content in its results, and demote low-quality content.
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. In addition, it has made changes to its search signals that will also bring up more accurate content in its results, and demote low-quality content.
In addition, Google is adding new public feedback tools for its AutoComplete feature in its search bar. The feedback menus will allow users to notify Google if they feel anything that shows up in the search bar, via AutoComplete, is inappropriate. A similar feedback form is also available for any Featured Snippets, which appear at the top of some search results. Finally, Google is adding more information on the technology behind its Search features on its website.
Google’s new tools and methods are being announced the same week as Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia, announced plans to launch a news site called Wikitribune. The Guardian reports it will have a team of professional journalists writing stories that will be fact-checked by a community of readers who will also offer feedback on what kinds of stories and subjects will be featured on the site. Wikitribune will launch a crowdfunding campaign to help support the site later today.