Shortly after the rise of accusations targeted at Facebook for helping, by some measure, influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election due to its lackluster efforts in eliminating fake news on people's newsfeeds, another company has been found to have also mishandled fake news. This time, it's Google.
Several websites have reported seeing a fake news article featured as one of Google's top stories upon entering relevant search terms such as "Presidential election results" or something similar along the lines.
Dan Abrams of Mediaite first spotted the incident. Google normally tallies up relevant news stories that correspond to the search terms users enter. In this case, an article from a blog called "70 News" was placed at the top or grouped within legitimate stories.
The article in the aforementioned blog declares President-elect Donald Trump as having successfully won both the electoral college and the popular votes. For the record, Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, despite losing the electoral college votes, won the popular vote, with unaccounted mail-in and absentee ballots slated to further balloon her tally in a couple of weeks' time.
The trail of evidence that lead to the article's assumption begins with a USA Supreme article having denoted that Clinton might win votes tallied but won't win votes cast because of "ignored Republican absentee ballots." A Twitter user named Michael used the USA Supreme article to inaccurately report the number of popular votes. The author of 70 News then used Michael's numbers to create the article that's now showing up atop Google's search results.
The Rising Problem Of Fake News
Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has rebuked a growing belief that the careless proliferation of fake news on the site helped propel Trump to win the presidency, with the foremost issue trailing toward the abysmal practices of Facebook in keeping its site disinfected from fake news, or similar inaccurate reports that often inhibit an agenda with questionable and even conceptually violent intents, such as, but not limited to, spurring hate crimes.
Now that there's a new President-elect, a surfeit of analyses is littering the web, either knee-jerk or rational appropriation pieces on why the elections turned out the way it did. All the polls previously heralded Clinton as the surefire winner by a staggering percentage that eclipsed Trump's chances of victory.
As publications spurn or scrutinize the turnout, pressure has been put on social media sites with flawed algorithms causing the lack of a proper weeding-out of fabricated and false coverage.
Google Bans Fake News Sites
Google is planning to elbow fake news sites away from its advertisement software, the company told the Wall Street Journal on Monday. Google banning these sites from taking advantage of its ad-selling software is an indication that it's addressing the recent criticism received by social media sites on its mishandling of inaccurate information. Google has promised to gate-keep ads from appearing on websites that distribute fake news.
"The goal of Search is to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users," a spokesperson from Google told The Verge, stating that it's currently fine-tuning its algorithm.
Do you think social media played a major role in the recent elections? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.