Thursday, March 5, 2015

Google works to rank sites based on ‘truthfulness'

In a step that critics worry will inject political bias into search results, a Google research team released a report this month on ranking search results based on how factual websites are. They propose eventually using that to change Google rankings, which are currently based on website popularity.

The Google researchers give, as an example, websites that say President Obama was born in Kenya; such sites would be penalized in Google rankings, whereas sites that correctly say he was born in the U.S. would get a boost in rankings.

That fact is not controversial, but critics worry that this is a first step towards Google playing God and effectively censoring content it does not like. They fear that skeptics of things like climate change or more immigration (both subjects that Google founders have expressed strong feelings about) might find their websites buried if this ranking system were adopted.

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