Lately, we have seen Google in some hot water regarding a fake news issue.
The top stories Google had shown during the election had proven to be false, and users are not happy with this.
Google has been trying to remedy the issue with the following actions.
- Manually reviewing sites. The “In the News” section of the results page is pulled from many different sources. This recent change happened in 2014 when Google said these results can be blogs, news, and other forums as well as news. These pages are not manually looked at like news articles are. While unconfirmed, there has been some speculation at Google about removing this section, and instead calling it something like, “Top Stories” to explain to users that these stories have not been manually reviewed.
- Ranking Factors. Google ranks only authoritative sites on the top of the search results page. While some of this practice is questioned, for the most part, Google provides you with websites that are a legitimate authority.
- Google and Facebook ban fake news incentives. Under Google’s Adsense platform, writers of fake news were reportedly pulling in thousands a month. To cut this incentive, Google and Facebook have banned such advertisements on their ad networks. While this may not completely stop the issue, it will certainly cause a dent in the production.
- This year, Google rolled out a Fact Checking label for news stories. Now, you can apply to have a news article labeled as fact checked, a sign for users that your article is backed up, and researched. In addition to this newly available label, Google is helping to fund such organizations, to help the practice of fact checking become more popular.
Being such a large and widely used search engine, Google needs to make sure that they are keeping the relationship between themselves and the user in a positive position. What the search engine giant needs to do is simply report valid news, and let the users define things on their own terms.