Google Algorithms to Spot Offensive and Factually Incorrect Content

Google Algorithms to Spot Offensive and Factually Incorrect Content

“It wouldn’t be Google if doesn’t make an effort to better identify offensive and factually incorrect content now, would it?”

Google takes an excellent initiative to identify incorrect, inaccurate, and untrustworthy content from top search results by utilizing data from human “quality raters”. The idea is to teach the algorithms of Google how to spot offensive and inaccurate content that comes on top of search engine results.

One of Google’s senior engineers Paul Haahr says, “We’re explicitly avoiding the term ‘fake news,’ because we think it is too vague. Demonstrably inaccurate information, however, we want to target.”

Google Has an Army of Over 10,000 Quality Raters Working on This!

Google’s has over 10,000 quality raters working on this project across the world. They are given actual search queries for research. However, the quality raters don’t have the power to change website rankings on Google’s search engine results. The data produced by a rater is utilized to improve Google’s algorithms gradually. So, the change would be gradual. A single bad rating is not going to determine a website’s future. The raters have to follow a set of guidelines in order to rate the content on a website.

Here is an example of how a rater would determine the quality of content. In this example, for the search term “holocaust history,” there are two results.

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  • The first one is from a white supremacist site. As per the Google guidelines, the raters should flag the first result as Upsetting-Offensive as many people might find it offensive.

  • The second one is from The History Channel. As per Google guidelines, the raters would not flag this result as it is a “factually accurate source of historical information.”

What Kind of Change Will it Bring?

“We will see how some of this works out. I’ll be honest. We’re learning as we go,” Haahr said.

It might take time to produce results but as the algorithm gets better with time, we might see genuine and factual information on top results in place of fake or incorrect information.

“We’ve been very pleased with what raters give us in general. We’ve only been able to improve ranking as much as we have over the years because we have this really strong rater program that gives us real feedback on what we’re doing,” he said.

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