Google Takes Steps to Fight Fake News

Google's Project OwlGoogle is more than aware of the fake news problems out there.

While they took measures earlier in the month to combat fake news, the effect was minimal. Their “fact check” feature was only relevant if the accurate headline appears — and how often does that happen?

Now, Google asks the public to help them with fake news. They plan to allow users to give feedback on search results on how they use Google and whether they feel the news is false or offensive.

Google states that there are tens of thousands of pages coming to the internet every minute of the day; so, the people out there looking to game the system and bypass security are winning. Google notes that 0.25% of their results are returning with offensive or misleading content.

However, they did not specify how many searches 0.25% comes out to. Some say that Google handles about 3 billion searches per day, so, 0.25% accounts for 7.5 million misleading results each day — unacceptable.

Introducing Project Owl

Google’s release of their three-pronged attack, Project Owl, is a way to improve the authoritative content and remove fake, offensive, or misleading content from their SERPs.

Project Owl is their effort to address the issues. Within this project, Google launches a new feedback form for user search suggestions. Also, the form includes featured snippet answers. Lastly, the project aims to improve search quality.

Why the owl name? No reason.

Google said the name was just selected at random. However, the owl is a symbol, according to Search Engine Land, of wisdom, which makes it more than proper.

Google uses the term “problematic searches,” where they are trying to cope with the consequences of inaccurate news being shared. People are continually publishing content that only reaffirms views but does not reflect facts. Furthermore, the number of searches for slurs, myths, and rumors has increased, which sparked more content that catered to this group specifically.

The Search Quality Rater Guidelines

The Search Quality Rater Guidelines allow human evaluators to gauge the quality and accuracy of the content. These offer examples of low-quality results so users can compare low-quality results to what they are viewing.

The snippets from conspiracy theory sights and hoaxes will now show the feedback from users about how the information is inaccurate.

Google wants to increase their transparency and deliver search engine results that are accurate and non-offensive. Furthermore, Google has a strict policy for content removal they have deployed.

Besides the latest guidelines, the company released tweaks to their search engine algorithm that detects and removes low-quality content in lower search engine result pages. Google and Facebook are just two of the many companies launching a similar action against fake news after the events of the U.S. election.

False information and news that appears legitimate, but was false, became major issue in the presidential race.