Google is revamping its search algorithm to combat fake news: Here are the major changes

The company says real people and not robots will assess the quality of its search results.

Google says its search results are based on algorithms using several factorsReuters

Google is in the process of revamping its existing search algorithm to curb the promotion of extreme views, conspiracy theories and, most importantly, fake news.

The internet giant that has an internal and undisclosed ranking for websites and their URLs said it will demote "low-quality" websites especially those circulating misleading or fake content. A group of 10,000-plus staff, known as "raters" will assess search results and flag web pages that host hoaxes, conspiracy theories and content that is sub-par.

"In a world where tens of thousands of pages are coming online every minute of every day, there are new ways that people try to game the system," Google's Ben Gomes said in a blog post. "In order to have long-term and impactful changes, more structural changes [to Google's search engine] are needed."

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Check out some of the major changes Google has made public regarding its algorithm change:

  • Users can now report offensive suggestions from the Autocomplete feature and false statements in Google's Direct Answer box, which will be manually checked by a moderator.
  • Users can even flag content that appears on Featured Snippets in search
  • Instead of bots that have been traditionally used by search companies, Google assures real people will assess the quality of Google's search results
  • Low-quality web pages with content of conspiracy theories, extremism and unreliable sources will be demoted in ranking
  • More authoritative pages with strong sources and facts will be rated higher
  • Linking to offending websites and hiding text on a page that is invisible to humans, but visible to the search algorithms can also demote a webpage
  • Suspicious files and formats not recognised on landing pages which the company warns is malware in many cases

For a detailed explanation on how the company determines its search and rankings check out its search quality evaluation guidelines that has been updated. The company that has been secretive about its search strategy in the past, has now promised more transparency to let people know how the business works after coming under fire for failing to combat fake and extremist content.

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