Jump to content
Sign Up To Remove Ads! | Purchase An Ad Slot!


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies. Want this topic removed from the archive?


Google’s hoax problem runs deep, says the creator of Google News

Recommended Posts

 titanic1    244


The creator of Google News has criticised the search giant for misleading users by promoting 4chan posts in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings.

While news about the recent Las Vegas attack was still breaking, users on the image-sharing site 4chan falsely named Geary Danley as the killer. At the time, a Google search for that name returned three top story posts at the top of the search page. Two of those posts were of 4chan threads spreading lies about the killer’s identity.

“They had this belief that the algorithm would take care of it, but it failed in [this] case spectacularly,” says Krishna Bharat, who worked at Google for 15 years and created the Google News feature, before leaving the company in 2015 to advise startups. “In a way it’s a very small problem but it hints at a deeper problem in terms of philosophy.”

The top stories box appears on many Google search results, and typically highlights three news stories related to the search term. Most of the time, those news stories are from legitimate news sites. But when there is very little information about a subject online – like in the case of Geary Danley – Google can end up promoting user-generated content from any website.

But Bharat says this is misleading, because top stories implies that those results are from news sites, and aren’t just the ramblings of the alt-right on anonymous online forums. “You can’t abuse the term top stories – it means something, it means something to the public, it means something to the Google brand,” he explains.

Google didn’t always have such a laissez-faire attitude to vetting news sites. In the past, those top stories were pulled from Google News, a section of the service that only takes results from news sites.

Unlike search results, Google News has always been vetted so it returns results from a range of sites that Google deems reliable. “If a source was caught faking the news it was out,” Bharat says. ”It had the effect of creating a range of voices - where the quality varied quite a bit but there weren’t hoaxes.”


Online social media monopolies like Facebook and search engine companies such as Google threaten American democracy by censoring free speech and thought, according to a researcher fired by Google.

Many Christian groups and other conservatives have complained that Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, PayPal and Google ban politically incorrect speech, forbid ads, take videos off their platforms, disallow donations, and even remove group pages in the name of “violation of policy.”

“Google, Facebook and to certain degrees also Amazon have captured the flow of information and ideas between citizen and citizen,” former New America Foundation senior fellow Barry C. Lynn announced. “Our ability to communicate freely with one another in this country, which is the primary basis for being able to protect our democracy, is now threatened in very real ways today.”

Lynn isn’t the only one pointing out the increasing tyranny of social media giants. Zephyr Teachout, a former colleague of Lynn’s at NAF, warned that Google was “coming after critics in academia and journalism” and “forming into a government of itself … incapable of even seeing its own overreach.”

“Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power,” Teachout wrote in The Washington Post. “It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.”


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites