This is Google's latest effort to fight fake news

This is Google's latest effort to fight fake news

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 also says its algorithms have now been trained to demote "low quality" content based on signals like whether the information comes from an "authoritative" page. You might think it's running completely on algorithms and AI these days, but Google actually has human evaluators that perform searches, assess the results and provide feedback back to the company.

Google plans on adding the same reporting features to also allow users to flag inappropriate Featured Snippets - those little blurbs at the top of a search that saves you the effort of clicking through any links, such as when looking up a basic definition or a celebrity's age.

Earlier this year, a featured snippet that suggested former United States president Barack Obama was planning a coup with China had to be removed by the search engine.

Google announced on Tuesday that it is tweaking its search engine to scuttle misleading or false content, a major move for the company and the world considering Google's dominance in search.

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In particular, he said, many groups and organisations were using "fake news" to help spread "blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information". Just like human 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.

The executive added that the user feedback mechanisms were created to "include clearly labelled categories so you can inform us directly if you find sensitive or unhelpful content".

It's been a rough year for Google's oldest and still most core product, search. Google's featured snippets have in recent months sourced results from sites that traffic in conspiracy theories and hoaxes.

Google is also changing the signals it uses to directly influence rankings, with an eye towards pushing low-quality content down. 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.

"They simply give feedback about whether the results are good". Google says its new approach isn't meant to placate advertisers. "That's impossible. But I do hope we see continued improvement in the weeks and months to come".

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