Google today announced that it's rolling out some changes to search results with the aim to combat fake news as well as offensive content. "This can sometimes lead to results that are unexpected". Google's had some problems in the past with sites manipulating how they appear on results.
Google is also making it easier for people to flag offensive or inaccurate content that appears in Autocomplete and Featured Snippets - the block of information at the top of search results for certain queries, which was the subject of some controversy in March. Google executives claimed the type of web pages categorized in this bucket are relatively small, which is a reason why the search giant hadn't addressed the issue before.
Google employs algorithms to identify reliable sources from the billions of indexed pages. So while one quarter of one per cent of bad content might be a good result for nearly any other enterprise, Google could be responding to many billions of user requests a year with these "low quality" results.
Additionally, Google is applying the same new parameters for its "auto-complete" function, which finishes search questions based on popularity.
From Facebook to Wikipedia, internet organizations are focusing efforts more than ever before to crack down on fake news - poor-quality web content that typically spreads through misleading, often offensive headlines.
Google also adding a feedback option that will enable users to complain about objectionable autocomplete suggestions so a human can review the wording.
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As Google and Facebook become the primary sources of news and information online for many, the two companies are starting to realize they have a responsibility to make sure users are seeing facts, not hoaxes. Google tweaked autocomplete suggestions past year, shortly after it became aware of the problem so things like this wouldn't happen. The newer changes apply to the secretive, core algorithm behind all Google search rankings.
In a blog, Google said the changes should thwart attempts to abuse its algorithms that let extremists promote their content.
But the fact that searches such as "Is Obama planning a coup?" - or even "Who invented stairs?" - produced such questionable results meant it had to act.
The new feedback tools work in Google's autocomplete feature, which is when the search engine tries to anticipate what you're going to ask and makes it part of the suggestions while you're typing.
The process for flagging a featured snippet error.