Apr 25, 2017

Google changes its algorithms to combat fake news

The tech giant, which owns roughly 80% percent of the U.S. search market and over 40% of the U.S. digital ad market, says it's made updates to its algorithms to surface more "authoritative content."

Why it matters: This is one of the biggest steps Google has taken to combat fake news since the election. Google and Facebook, the two largest platforms and media distributors, have been under intense pressure for years, but more so since the election, to reassure advertisers that their content won't appear next to fake news sites or ads.

Changes:

  • Ranking changes: Google says its adjusting the hundreds of signals used to elevate searches in its queries to help surface more authoritative pages and bury "low-quality" content, like content that denies the Holocaust's existence.
  • New Search Quality Rater guidelines: Google uses real people to assess data about Google's search results. They are updating the guidelines those raters use to address feedback.

Our thought bubble: Fake news is prevalent on platforms, where scammers can game the system to maximize clicks and exposure to either make money or sway public opinion. Google tends to have more fake news perpetrators using the platform for monetization, whereas Facebook, whose algorithm is based off of emotional response among other factors, tends to have more of a fake news to persuade public opinion problem than Google.

Go deeper

Protests for George Floyd continue for 10th day

Thousands of protesters march over the Brooklyn Bridge on June 4 in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

All four former Minneapolis police officers have been charged for George Floyd’s death and are in custody, including Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao, who were charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter.

The latest: Crowds gathered in Portsmouth, New Hampshire on Thursday evening and in Atlanta, Georgia, despite the rain. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms joined demonstrators on Thursday. Demonstrators in Washington, D.C. dispersed following a thunderstorm and rain warning for the region.

Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

2 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.