Google has immediately taken steps to exclude neo-Nazi websites in its search results. This came after the company drew flak for allowing a white supremacist website to turn up on top of its search results alongside Jewish museums for specific queries involving the Holocaust.
The controversy began when a post published by an American alt-right website called Stormfront greeted users who searched for the query, "Did the Holocaust happen?" Its post, titled "Top 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn't happen" showed up in the first page of the Google search result.
Google Search Tweak
Google reportedly tweaked its search algorithm so that websites peddling hate and Holocaust denials are now prevented from popping up in the first pages of its search results.
The company told NBC that it has already made improvements and that its search algorithm is now able to provide better quality and credible content on the web. Google has also followed this up with a stronger statement, citing it will execute actions against non-authoritative information.
Unfortunately, Stormfront is still showing up for the Holocaust query as of this writing. The Google search captured in the image below has been conducted Dec. 28.
To be fair, Google has already stated that making changes to its search algorithm is challenging and that the company does not always get it right. It also stressed that the tweak is an ongoing process, requiring time to effectively tackle the challenge.
Promoted Search Results
However, one should note that Google can guarantee that a website turns up at the very top of its search results for specific queries. This is part of the company's advertising scheme wherein advertisers bid for the top position in Google search results.
For example, Breman Museum, the Jewish heritage museum based in Atlanta, has paid Google in order for its site to appear whenever users search for Holocaust denial keywords.
"Your business gets found by people on Google precisely when they're searching for the things that you offer," Google said in its Adwords page.
This does not mean that Google has received a fee from Stormfront. It merely shows that its advertising approach could demonstrate how easy it is to tweak the search algorithm so a website can appear or perhaps disappear in the coveted first search result pages.
When the Stormfront controversy first came to light, Google has refused to take any action, citing that it is committed to an open and free web. This is almost similar to the Facebook position regarding the proliferation of hoaxes and fake news in its network.