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FEATURED ARTICLE — June 29th, 2017

Google and Fake News: Changes to Search

“Today, 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”. . . While this problem is different from issues in the past, our goal remains the same—to provide people with access to relevant information from the most reliable sources available. And while we may not always get it right, we’re making good progress in tackling the problem.”

– Ben Gomes, VP of search engineering at Google

In 2016, the term “fake news” became ubiquitous. Outlandish stories continued to make headlines, even on search results and social platforms. The issue became so problematic and widespread that Politifact named fake news its 2016 lie of the year.

While many view fake news as a problem stemming from Facebook and other social media websites, Google is just as responsible for spreading misinformation.

The Outline recently ran a piece that clearly displayed that many of Google’s snippets are nonsensical, misleading, incorrect and sometimes just outright fake.

This isn’t the first time that Google’s search algorithms have landed the company in hot water.

In December 2016, if users searched the phrase, “did the Holocaust happen,” Google would return a false article from a neo-Nazi website entitled, “Top 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn’t happen.”

These kinds of incidents have finally sparked Google to announce changes to its search algorithm that will combat fake news from spreading along with the addition of reporting tools for users to leverage.

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