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Google's Trying to Flag Offensive Information That Could Show Up in Your Search Results

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Google is working to combat criticism over misinformation in its search results by adding human quality raters, who will hunt for “Upsetting-Offensive” content and deliver more factually accurate results, USA Today reported.

According to USA Today, 10,000 independent contractors have been recruited for the job. They are given real searches and score the results, based on guidelines provided by Google.

“Upsetting-Offensive” content includes hate or violent speech against a group of people, racial slurs or offensive terminology, graphic violence or explicit information about harmful activities like sex trafficking, according to the nearly 200-page guidelines produced by Google.

“We’re explicitly avoiding the term ‘fake news’, because we think it is too vague,” Paul Haahr, a Google senior engineer involved with the project, told Search Engine Land. “Demonstrably inaccurate information, however, we want to target.”

Results flagged as “Upsetting-Offensive” will be used to help Google’s human coders improve the algorithm, Search Engine Land wrote. Over time, the idea is that the algorithm will be able to automatically spot pages that should be flagged itself.

However, it is important to note that being flagged in this way doesn’t mean that the content won’t appear on Google at all. In cases where someone is explicitly seeking out a piece of content, like a climate-change denial page for example, Google will still deliver the person to that content.

Although this won’t eliminate all of the misinformation and offensive content out there in cyberspace, Google’s latest project is taking a step in the right direction to ensure that quality, informed content will appear in our search results.


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