Google announces emphasis on fact-checking

Posted on September 14, 2020

 

Two blog posts reveal that Google is using its natural language algorithm BERT to deliver results that are reliable as well as relevant.

This was announced by Google’s Public Liaison for Search, Danny Sullivan, on September 10. Later in the day, a summary of the specifics followed, detailing how the search engine hopes to deliver factual information on important matters like COVID-19 and the upcoming US presidential election.

Among the most significant ways that this is being achieved is with a rethink of autocomplete suggestions, where Google wants to steer users away from partisan or non-specific information. The summary states that claims in favour of or against any political party or candidate should not be seen among the suggested answers given to users while typing in their search query, and nor should information like “you can/can’t vote by phone”, which may be different from one location to the next and may misinform users.

Search Engine Land describes this as Google “being more conservative”, which seems unfortunate phrasing to use when referring to political neutrality, but, in this case, it simply means being more selective with the suggestions given.

Google also says it is increasing its efforts to weed out misinformation, with its fact check labels having been displayed over four billion times this year, and its close work with online reference site Wikipedia helping it to eliminate vandalism and inaccurate information from its knowledge panels.

Interestingly, Google also notes that it is using BERT in its news section to fact check stories. It has long been a goal of many business websites to appear in Google News, and those that hope to do so will now need to strive harder than ever for high-quality and, above all, factual news.

For well-researched and engaging content that appeals to human readers and can improve your search engine rankings, talk to us at Engage Web.

John Murray

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