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Google to Limit Offensive, Inaccurate Search Results

Google to Limit Offensive, Inaccurate Search Results

Google to Limit Offensive, Inaccurate Search Results

Google is retooling its powerful search engine to prevent sites peddling fake news, hoaxes and conspiracy theories from appearing in its top results.

The changes announced today reflects Google's confidence in a new screening system created to reduce the chances that its influential search engine will highlight untrue stories about people and events, a phenomenon commonly referred to as "fake news". The fake news will be down-rated in search results by tweaking signals, such as the freshness and the frequency of a site's appearance, that are taken into account when ranking a web page.

The company said that around 0.25% of queries (of overall daily traffic) is returning "offensive or clearly misleading".

The moves follow months after criticism of Google and Facebook Inc. for hosting misleading information, particular tied to the 2016 USA presidential election. While those people don't affect search results in real time, they do provide feedback on whether the changes to the algorithms are working, Gomes wrote.

GoogleGoogle also says it is improving the guidelines its human workers use to evaluate content that appears in search results. "As is often the case when Google announces changes, this couldn't be more vague", said search engine expert Joost de Valk of consultancy firm Yoast. Google was slammed for allowing fictitious stories-claiming he had won the popular vote instead of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama was planning a coup-to rise above accurate and truthful reporting. One will see this in Google's autocomplete which may still produce rather odd and hateful results, but now users can flag them and Google can more easily correct them.

While Facebook has faced a backlash for the spread of fake news across its social network, Google has been criticized for results that leap to the top for specific queries.

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Google has also faced criticism over searches suggested by its "autocomplete" function, which tries to predict the terms being typed in.

Google is entering the fight against fake news.

It will remain to be seen how much Tuesday's change ends up affecting Google's search ranking. It's also lost lawsuits in Japan and Germany over the search suggestions.

To start, the company has updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines to provide clearer examples of low-quality results.

Additionally, Google is launching direct feedback tools that will allow users to flag erroneous Featured Snippets and Autocomplete predictions.

The second means of seeking feedback is though Google's Featured Snippets.

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