The credibility of news on the internet has recently been a big discussion point for a while now. Thanks to the rise of many fake news outlets and people’s tendency to not fact check things they read but simply share anything that fits their viewpoint, the political world has become victim to a rise of populist beliefs that are not always grounded in fact. This is not helped by the fact that many journalists simply duplicate on news reporting and not putting much effort into doing their own research – myself included.
While many social network sites have been trying many different ways of addressing this Google is now also looking to tackle it a little more head-on as the company announced it is going to prioritise “original reporting” in its search results. To do so, it has distributed new instructions to its cadre of 10,000+ human reviewers, whose feedback helps train the Google algorithm that actually delivers search rankings.
While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it.
There is no absolute definition of original reporting, nor is there an absolute standard for establishing how original a given article is. It can mean different things to different newsrooms and publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story.
It will be interesting to see exactly how these changes affect a lot of the search results on news stories and if it actually does anting to fix the problem of poor journalism and fake news in the world. Of course, fake news stories can easily still be original content which doesn’t help the matter and so the company will probably only be targeting certain publications which it believes to be reputable which is bound to get others riled up when their viewpoints are no longer prioritised.
It would obviously be more preferable for human beings to stop being so gullible, but let’s be honest and agree that it’s never going to happen and so we will be at the mercy of search engines and AI to do it for us for the foreseeable future.
Last Updated: September 13, 2019