Google Fixes Algorithm to Remove Holocaust-Denying Results and Other 'Non-Authoritative Information'

Shoes taken from Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz via Getty | Screenshots via Google
Shoes taken from Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz via Getty | Screenshots via Google

After it was widely reported that the first Google search result for “Did the Holocaust happen?” was from Stormfront, a white supremacist website, Google decided to alter its algorithm to remove Holocaust denial sites all together.

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When the news first broke, Google said it would not remove the article—titled “Top 10 reasons why the holocaust didn’t happen”—from its results because the company does “not remove content from [its] search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines.”

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But Google had a change of heart. A spokesperson for the company told Digital Trends, “Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right.”

The spokesperson also emphasized that the company strives “to give users a breadth of diverse content from variety of sources and...[is] committed to the principle of a free and open web.”

Google made sure to emphasize it is still sorting its results automatically, and that the company had simply “made improvements” to its algorithm when it comes to “non-authoritative information.” The spokesperson said that this “will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web.”

This is a major shift for the company. In 2008, Google founder Sergey Brin said in an interview with Israeli politician Yair Lapid:

An important part of our values as a company is that we don’t edit the search results. What our algorithms produce, whether we like it or not, are the search results. I think people want to know we have unbiased search results.

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We’ve reached out to Google to ask more about the company’s decision to alter its algorithm, and what that means for the future of fake news. Maybe Google could lend some of its Silicon Valley peers a helping hand with all that.

Now when you search “did the Holocaust happen?” Stormfront appears to have disappeared entirely.

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Results for “Did the Holocaust happen?” on 12/26/2016
Results for “Did the Holocaust happen?” on 12/26/2016

The company has also corrected the results to “are Jews evil?”—when you search a variety of suggestively hateful questions, it mostly directs to news about the search results scandal. When you search “are Muslims evil?” there isn’t anything Islamophobic until the fourth result. Baby steps.

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Results for “are Jews evil?” and “are Muslims evil?” on 12/26/2016
Results for “are Jews evil?” and “are Muslims evil?” on 12/26/2016

However, when you google “are black people inferior?” the first result is still racist.

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Results for “are black people inferior?” on 12/26/2016
Results for “are black people inferior?” on 12/26/2016

“We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges,” the Google spokesperson said.

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[Digital Trends]

Eve Peyser was the night editor at Gizmodo.

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DISCUSSION

Anyone else think this is a bad thing? I’m not for denying the holocaust please dont jump to that conclusion.

My main issue is the internet is a very fragile place when it comes to freedom of speech. If stuff is illegal its one thing but if people saying what they want even if crazy it should not be blocked

This is literally what is occurring in China with the internet being censored. The issue here is educating the public properly in order to know the different between crazy and not crazy not removing the crazy itself.

Its a slippery slope who decides what should be removed and now that Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act was signed into law during the holidays on Dec 24th so no one would notice the government now has a ministry of truth.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Countering_Foreign_Propaganda_and_Disinformation_Act

They can now decide what they consider the truth and legally prosecute what they consider is propaganda in order to push their own narrative

So now you have an incoming president who will inherit the biggest domestic spying apparatus known in the history of mankind that monitors and stores, email, IM, text and calls plus the FBI with their facial recognition database and license plate reader database and now the government decides what is true or not for the media

Plus the House passed HR 4919 which would allow the US attorney general to award grants to law enforcement for the creation and operation of “locative tracking technology programs.” Though the bill specifically mentions those with Alzheimer and autism, there are no restrictions to having the program extended to other officially recognized disorders.

Even the dislike of authority is considered a mental disorder known as “Oppositional Defiant Disorder,” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oppositional_defiant_disorder)

When should people start to worry?

Scanner Darkly or V for Vendetta

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_surveillance_disclosures_(2013%E2%80%93present)

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/fingerprints-and-other-biometrics/ngi


https://www.fbi.gov/services/records-management/foipa/privacy-impact-assessments/facial-recognition

http://money.cnn.com/2016/06/16/technology/fbi-facial-recognition/

http://epic.org/foia/fbi/lpr/

https://www.fbi.gov/services/cjis/cjis-link/license-plate-reader-technology-enhances-the-identification-recovery-of-stolen-vehicles


https://www.aclu.org/feature/you-are-being-tracked

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/6393?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22HR+6393%22%5D%7D&r=1


https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/5181?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22H.R.5181%22%5D%7D&r=1

http://dailycaller.com/2016/12/08/human-tracking-bill-passes-house/

https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4919/text