Google to Revise Search Rankings to Downplay Fake News, Hate Speech

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According to Google, approximately (.) 25 per cent of its results "have been returning offensive or clearly misleading content".

Google is attempting to fight "fake news" with changes to its search engine that will enable users to notify the tech giant of offensive or misleading content. The tech giant revealed Tuesday that new "Search ranking" and "Direct feedback tools" are now available for users, as tools created to improve the Google search experience.

Google has commenced tweaking its search algorithm to curb unscrupulous circulation of fake news and hate speeches online. Just as editors at traditional media outlets have to curate content and separate fact from fiction, Google has to do the same on a massive scale for all the stuff published to the web. When you start typing something into Google Search, or Google Chrome or on another browser with Google as your default search engine, you see a drop-down that offers suggestions about what Google thinks you might be searching for.

Fighting fake news is an uphill battle and a number of companies such as Facebook, Google and more are taking steps to promote higher quality content. Google has made structural changes in Search that include improvements in Search ranking, easier ways for people to provide direct feedback, and greater transparency around how Search works.

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"We were highlighting low-quality content in search results", he said in a Bloomberg Technology interview Tuesday.

Fighting fake news can be tricky because in some cases what is viewed as being blatantly misleading by one person might be interpreted as being mostly true by another. 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.

Deliberately misleading information, as well as outright fabrications, plagued the 2016 US presidential primary season and election.

The existing feedback option for Featured Snippets has been updated to let users report examples of bogus, hateful, and vulgar information in the boxes. Google has also tweaked its algorithms to make'low quality' posts show up lower in the search results, thereby restricting their reach. The company didn't specify how many queries that really is - but the search-engine-focused news site Search Engine Land reported that Google estimated in 2015 that it handles 3 billion searches per day. "These feedbacks would be helpful to us in improving our algorithms", Gomes added.

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