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Google presents its anti-fake news system in detail

By Greg S · 14 replies
Feb 19, 2019
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  1. Google is fairly secretive about how its search results are generated in an astoundingly short amount of time. In the current climate of news and the term "fake news" being thrown around regularly, Google has come forward at the Munich Security Conference to present a white paper on how it is fighting disinformation.

    Drowning out disinformation in Search, News, and on YouTube is no easy feat, but 20 years of combating traditional spam certainly helps. Each of these three Google segments have their own unique fake news blocking techniques in place.

    Before diving into how Google manages its platforms, know that Google defines disinformation and fake news as information that is spread while known to be inaccurate by the creator, "with the hope that others believe it is true or to create discord in society."

    According to the white paper, Google Search and News make use of algorithms without any human intervention when determining rankings. End user behaviors are analyzed and some are asked to rate the quality and usefulness of results. This feedback is used to try and improve the ranking order of web pages and news articles. CEO Sundar Pichai has already shared essentially the same information before Congress after Google was accused of manipulating political search results.

    An important fact about Google's algorithms are that they "do not make subjective determinations about the truthfulness of webpages." Instead, only measurable and verifiable data is used to give a trust score of sorts. The number of other websites linking to or referencing a page and authority rank are contributing factors.

    Once a web page meets enough of Google's criteria to be considered legitimate and of good quality, it is given a boost in results. Google News imposes even stricter guidelines for what will be prominently featured because timeliness is a major factor in ranking. All of the news produced on any given day that Google crawls through can be used to determine when and which topics are considered important.

    Following the automated filters in place, extra context is being given to "Your Money or Your Life" pages. Google looks for medical, legal, financial, and public information pages that may be used to make critical decisions. These YMYL category pages receive special ranking consideration based on authority and user trust. For example, anti-vaccine campaigns may be moved down rankings considerably due to their provably false information being spread. Humans are involved in rating some of these pages, but do not determine the absolute rank of any site or individual web page.

    YouTube is so large that it could have its own book about how disinformation is being fought against. Main techniques to fight fake news include only suggesting videos that are very likely to be quality content and offering contextual references alongside potentially disputed information. Searching for questionable topics will not yield as many directly relevant suggestions for more videos compared to searching for some excellent computer hardware topics.

    The paper concludes with section on Google's advertising platform and how malicious content is filtered out. Nothing there is terribly surprising, so feel free to read through the paper yourself if you really want to know every last detail.

    Permalink to story.

  2. fadingfool

    fadingfool TS Booster Posts: 102   +96

    Anti-Fake news or just current zeitgeist reinforcement? There used to be a time you surfed the net to find new and interesting things......
    Impudicus likes this.
  3. But... but... but the dinosaurs in congress told me that Google manipulates search results to make them look bad!
  4. Teko03

    Teko03 TS Evangelist Posts: 578   +298

    Only one person claims that....
  5. Cubi Dorf

    Cubi Dorf TS Booster Posts: 150   +51

    I consider this being against free speech. To bury information they don’t like for any reason is still against free speech.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  6. Cubi Dorf

    Cubi Dorf TS Booster Posts: 150   +51

    Anti vaccination campaign is reaction to lack of trust in government and big Pharma and coorerate interest. It is controversial issue. They can label any controversy fake news and bury it. I don’t support google efforts.
    Morris Minor and Reachable like this.
  7. JamesSWD

    JamesSWD TS Maniac Posts: 331   +182

    And over in the other corner, we have Microsoft and their insipid Newsguard flagging legitimate news & sites they don't like as fake news from suspicious websites.

    Google's already proven they can't be trusted and lean way left politically. This is wrong.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  8. sushi board

    sushi board TS Rookie

    If history is anything to go by, when there's money involved, people will find all sorts of ways to skirt the updates.
  9. QuantumPhysics

    QuantumPhysics TS Evangelist Posts: 1,392   +1,020

    If you wanna cut out fake news, disinformation, rumors, lies and conjecture: MSNBC, FOX and CNN need to be blocked.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  10. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 623   +400

    That sure is a long-winded way of misspelling "censorship".
    Morris Minor likes this.
  11. pit1209

    pit1209 TS Booster Posts: 58   +70

    Looks like many here consider the spread of misinformation and lies as good and part of free speech or whatever. Google is controlling the information that it shows on its search engine while showing publicly how they are going to do it and the reasons why are universally known. Now if you consider that "censorship" I don't know what free speech is to you because is not like any of those people making all those "fake" news are being prohibited in doing so (they should have been in the first place) but their stories won't get to that many people anymore at least, and if you want to go to the freedom of speech and the first amendment then you can try and search for the definition of fraud and how it is punished by law.

    Edit: Grammar.
  12. Cubi Dorf

    Cubi Dorf TS Booster Posts: 150   +51

    I don't thinking anyone considering spreading fake news is good. We just not trust Googles to be the one who decicde what information we can see. The line what is fake news is not clear and can be abuse. censorship is still censorship even if the content is bad. if you trusties google to do censorship on your behalf then no problems, but maybe it should be an optional.

    Morris Minor likes this.
  13. JaredTheDragon

    JaredTheDragon TS Guru Posts: 623   +400

    Here's a news flash for you, Pitty. Almost everything in the mainstream news is and has been "fake news" since at least the 1950s. This isn't a conspiracy theory, it's Congressional Record. Look up the Church Committee Hearings in the 1970s, where the fake senate tried to curtail Langley's hostile takeover of the remaining media outlets it didn't own since William Randolph Hearst handed them off in 1946. On top of that, Google already censors its results massively, skewing them always towards the mainstream in every field, and always towards the State's fallacious answers. Anyone can verify this simply by trying the same search in another search engine. Google isn't a public service or just a tech company, they're another arm of intelligence (NSA's) and always have been.

    So you defending the same misinformation and lies as some kind of physical reality or truth, while pretending that culling honest searches (such as "Church Committee Hearings", for one example) isn't censorship is just poppycock. Bollocks. Half the articles on this site are "fake news" too, or sheer marketing, and yet here we are.

    It is and should be up to the individual to be more discerning, more aware, and more defensive against a story being spun. Any time you take the responsibility for validating knowledge away from the individual and build it into the infrastructure, it's censorship. It's propaganda. And many of us see right through it, and also through you.
    Morris Minor likes this.
  14. FF222

    FF222 TS Addict Posts: 186   +114

    If there's a predictable system, it can be gamed. If money or political power is involved, it will be gamed. Simple as that.
    JaredTheDragon likes this.
  15. pit1209

    pit1209 TS Booster Posts: 58   +70

    I understand that and you know what I do? I don't watch TV and when I seek for news I search and read in multiple sources and at the end of the day I don't consider that the "complete" truth, you know what I don't do? Try to spread my point of view to every person I know and consider that people that don't believe the same as me are wrong.

    Google is limiting the information on their channel and they are free to do so, you can use any other search engine instead of complaining about it without trying to look into matters from a different perspective, I know that Fox news, CNN and big newspapers do the same with certain information and nobody complains.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2019

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