Last Monday, the Google search engine came under fire after displaying a false report from a fake news website that claimed Republican candidate Donald Trump had won the popular vote.
On Friday, sources indicated Google might consider removing the ‘In the news’ section from search results because of this occurrence.
The company could replace the existing section, which currently exists only on the desktop version, with a ‘Top Stories’ section similar to the one featured on mobile devices. The change has been in the works for some time, according to the unnamed source.
Google’s short-lived fake news scandal adds to the ongoing fight against misinformation on the internet, in which Facebook is currently the leading protagonist.
Why did Google display a fake article as a top news story?
The first reaction by users was to think Google News, the part of Google that handles the editorial content of all kinds on the search engine, had been somehow trespassed. Google News imposes harsh approval controls in all articles that go through its index.
However, this was not the case. The reality is that the search engine’s rules had been responsible. It turns out that the ‘In the news’ section pulls news-related content from all over the web, bypassing Google News’ standards.
The ‘In the news’ section, however, directly relates with Google News, and when users click the link ‘More news for…’ at the bottom of the section, the site redirects them to a Google News search results page, with approved articles only.
What’s the difference between Google Search and Google News?
Search and News are two separate Google products, which means they each have different algorithms. Google News does not feature advertising content on its search result pages while Google Search does.
By displaying the ‘In the news’ section the way it currently does, Google can profit from advertising found on Search while still redirecting users to the ad-free Google News site, which might help explain why the fake news scandal happened in the first place.
“From our perspective, there should just be no situation where fake news gets distributed, so we are all for doing better here,” Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, said recently.
After the fake news scandal had surfaced, Google was quick to announce that it was banning fake news sites from its advertising network.
Source: Business Insider UK