Google Gives Out False Self-Isolating Guides About COVID-19 to UK Users
(Photo : Solen Feyissa from Unsplash)

As the biggest search engine in the world, Google is used by millions of people daily and rely on the company for information. However, the internet giant gave out wrong information on self-isolating guides after being exposed to COVID-19 in the UK. 

Tech Giant Screws Up

Google has been busy plugging leaks regarding misinformation around the pandemic over the past year. Another recent slew of misinformation has been running rampant in Google's UK search results about the UK government guidance in part of the automated "common questions" feature.

As reported by Business Insider, individuals in the UK contacted the National Health Service's (NHS) test-and-trace system when they were pinged by their COVID-19 app.

It was said that they had to self-isolate for 10 days from the date of their exposure, regardless if the person is negative for the virus, the symptoms can still grow. 

The results based on the reports was that Google's drop-down feature like "Can I stop self-isolating if I test negative or COVID-19?" is answered by: "If your test is negative, you will no longer be required to self-isolate."

Google has since then been aided by fact-checking group Full Fact that's created by the British charity to stop inaccuracies regarding the COVID-19 virus spreading online.

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Google's Explanation

Google told The Guardian that the snippets that were removed a day later are vetted by medical professionals, however, the results may be presented along with queries that do not provide the full context, or may not be relevant.

A UK spokesperson said, "common questions and answers in Google search are generated by Google. The Government Digital Service (GDS) works to ensure that all gov.uk information is clear and can be accessed directly from search engines, such as Google."

The spokesperson also added that the Gov.uk is playing an important role in helping the masses get current information in regards to the pandemic.

COVID-19 information is always kept to date to make sure that they reflect the government's policy towards the virus.

The problem first appeared on Monday, June 28, and was quickly and quietly removed within 24 hours of the detection. However, it wasn't fast enough for people to react to the misinformation and report it before it was ever known within Google. 

More of Google's Search Problems

We recently covered an article regarding Google's search results not offering great or reliable information relevant to the topic. The instances that happen come from events that are usually breaking news, or news that have just been published to be vetted for false information.

The tech giant countered that the problem that Google noted will detect a topic whenever its evolving and checks the different sources that have not yet been vetted. On top of this, Google also is including a number of suggestions on people who use the search option to try again later. 

Regardless, despite Google's many mishaps; the company is evolving together with the problems and combats issues every time something new pops up.

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Written by Alec G.

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