Google beticht van fake nieuws

Google is facing accusations of spreading fake news, after being repeatedly discovered sharing falsehoods and conspiracy theories through its “featured snippets in search” functionality.

The feature automatically pulls in short answers to common queries from popular websites. It can show them in the search results directly, and is also the basis for the quick answers provided through Google’s smart speaker device, the Google Home.

When it works, it leads to the search engine helpfully answering questions like “who is the richest man in the world” without requiring the user to click a further link – in this case, pulling eight names from a listicle on the Indian Express.

But when it doesn’t, it pulls from sites sharing fake news, propaganda and simple lies. Worse, it can result in the Google Home reading the same statements as fact, without even the presence of the other search results to provide much needed contextual clues that the answers might be misleading. The device does, however, read out the name of the site which provides the original information.

Over the weekend, asking Google, or the Google Home, “is Obama planning a coup” would pull in a quick answer from a site called Secrets of the Fed which stated: “According to details exposed in Western Centre for Journalism’s exclusive video, not only could Obama be in bed with the communist Chinese, but Obama may in fact be planning a communist coup d’état at the end of his term in 2016!”

Guardian | 06/03/2017 16:14