The Alphabet Inc. company is making a rare, sweeping change to the
algorithm behind its powerful search engine to demote misleading,
false and offensive articles online. Google is also setting new
rules encouraging its “raters” — the 10,000-plus staff that
assess search results — to flag web pages that host hoaxes,
conspiracy theories and what the company calls “low-quality”
The moves follow months after criticism of Google and Facebook
Inc. for hosting misleading information, particular tied to the
2016 U.S. presidential election. Google executives claimed the
type of web pages categorized in this bucket are relatively
small, which is a reason why the search giant hadn’t addressed
the issue before.
“It was not a large fraction of queries — only about a quarter
percent of our traffic — but they were important queries,” said
Ben Gomes, vice president of engineering for Google.
Good for them. What Gomes said is exactly right — it may not be many queries, but they are important queries.