Google and Anti Disinformation

March 19, 2019

Lest anyone wonder what, exactly, Google is doing to fight disinformation on its platforms, the company has compiled that information in a white paper presented at the recent Munich Security Conference. Techspot tells us, “Google Presents Its Anti-Fake News System in Detail.” Reporter Greg Synek gives us the highlights; we learn:

“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.

We also noted this statement:

“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.”

As for Google-owned YouTube, it can be a bit more complex to manage as we learned when the controversial New Zealand video surfaced and surfaced and surfaced.

Readers can download the full pdf here.

Cynthia Murrell, March 19, 2019

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