Google's battle against fake news continues via Project Owl

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Google's battle against fake news continues via Project Owl

That, however, also led to people and methods that tried to game that system, the same methods used by sites to bypass Google's automated screening to spread deceptive, offensive, or inaccurate content.

Increased Transparency A recently released Help Center document provides information about how Google handles Autocomplete, especially with respect to removing suggestions.

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 changes include tweaks to the algorithm that determines which search results appear on top. 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.

It has also come to light that some tech-savvy extremists with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) techniques too have learned to trick the search algorithm. Around 0.25% of daily queries return content which is either offensive, misleading, or not what the person was looking for.

The moves follow months after criticism of Google and Facebook Inc. for hosting misleading information, particular tied to the 2016 USA presidential election.

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.

It also said it would refine its search engine to "surface more authoritative pages and demote low-quality content".

But doing nothing to combat fake news would probably have caused even bigger headaches.

You will see a feedback link in tiny print and if you click on it, you can provide feedback as to whether the source was accurate, used vulgar or hateful speech, is harmful or risky and whether you considered it harmful, unsafe or violent. Politicians on both sides used "fake news" as a rallying cry, and studies, such as this one from Stanford University, found that students were increasingly unable to tell the difference between a legitimate news story and a fabricated one.

But until now it hasn't offered a comprehensive answer to its challenges with fake news, such as the recent finding that a top result on Google search for "Did the Holocaust happen" linked to a neo-Nazi site.

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 is adding a feature to allow searchers online to flag these instances with a feedback form.

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