Google is reportedly looking at introducing long-term and comprehensive solutions that will deal with a growing number of offensive search suggestions and results in SERPs. The tech company is eager to combat fake news, misinformation and inappropriate content, but it is not ready to divulge just how it intends to do so just yet.
In a meeting with SEO and SEM news website Search Engine Land last week, Google revealed that it had heard the concerns of Internet users about offensive content, such as popular autocomplete suggestions about whether the Holocaust actually happened, and is very disturbed by the problems that this content can cause.
Google appears to want to take immediate action but is hoping to find solutions that can be backed up by robust policy, are generally defensible and can be implemented via algorithms. The main takeaway is that offensive content and fake news are very real problems for the biggest players in the industry right now, but it is very difficult to deliver perfect, comprehensive responses within a short time frame.
“The goal of search is to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users. Clearly, we don’t always get it right, but we continually work to improve our algorithms,” Google said in a statement following the meeting last week.
“This is a really challenging problem, and something we’re thinking deeply about in terms of how we can do a better job. Search is a reflection of the content that exists on the web. The fact that hate sites appear in Search results in no way means that Google endorses these views.”
Search Engine Land believes that there are two main areas where Google can focus its efforts in the coming months. The first is autocomplete, which often displays popular suggestions that are offensive to users. The feature is designed to make the searching process faster and more intuitive on mobile devices, but it may need tweaking slightly. The second area for consideration is filtering the overall results by flagging content, such as through the method that Facebook recently announced to combat fake news.
It must be stressed that these problems are not exclusive to Google and can be found on other search engines, including Bing and Duck Duck Go. Whatever Google ultimately comes up with, it seems that debunking misinformation and delivering better content will continue to be a central issue for tech leaders moving forward.