In an attempt to battle fake news or misinformation, Google will now remove those sites or publishers from its news search results which mask their country of origin or intentionally mislead Googlers, it said this in a quiet update in its guidelines.
Google writes that “Do not misrepresent yourself or your purpose. Sites included in Google News must not misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about their ownership or primary purpose, or engage in coordinated activity to mislead users. This includes, but isn’t limited to, sites that misrepresent or conceal their country of origin or are directed at users in another country under false premises.”
How will Google take action? If a reader believes that a publisher is violating Google News inclusion guidelines, he or she can file a spam report. For which, Google’s algorithm will push down the link in search results depending on the spam reports , and in some cases will lead to complete removal of a spammy site from Google News results. Google said that it is not taking manual actions yet.
Battle against misinformation and fake news
Internet companies especially Google and Facebook are paying heed to fake news epidemic. The issue picked up steam after a backlash of 2016 US Presidential Election. Both Google and Facebook were blamed for the election of President Donald Trump by helping circulate fake news and misinformation.
Google: Last week, Google had rolled out a new feature called Posts in India which allow users to access verified content from celebrities, companies, brands or any other well-known personalities. In April, Google had announced changes to its search algorithm in an attempt to push down fake news from its search results. The search engine also introduced a fact-checking tag on its search results earlier this year.
Facebook: In October, Facebook started testing a button that will provide users with additional information and context about articles they see in the News Feed. This additional contextual information has been pooled from within Facebook as well as other external sources. A couple of months earlier, Facebook decided to ban ads from Pages that repeatedly share fake news. It also said that it will pay fact-checkers to monitor news and spread of misinformation on the platform. Last year, the company had started testing tools to make it easier for users to report fake news, while articles flagged by its third-party fact checkers would be tagged disputed.