Google reportedly tweaks algorithm over Holocaust-denying search results
Justin Sullivan (Getty/AFP/File)
Online search giant Google has tweaked an algorithm to ensure that Holocaust denial sites are not the top results when someone asks whether the Holocaust occurred, Digital Trends reported on Sunday.
“We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web,” a Google spokesperson told Digital Trends when asked about the topic. “We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.”
Google recently faced criticism after journalists noted that the top results for queries about the Holocaust's legitimacy were all links to anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi sites.
Experts have recently said that far-right groups have been using methods to manipulate search algorithms and push their propaganda higher up Google's search rankings.
While Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi sites have not been banned from Google, they are now far less prominent in search results. A link from the neo-Nazi site Stormfront was previously consistently the top result, but now appears far down the first page of results or on the second page – if browsing in "incognito mode", which does not take a user's search history into account when weighing results.
Anti-hate groups have warned of a rise in online incitement this year, with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) telling the Israeli parliament this year that there has been an "explosion of hate online."
"Online hate is particularly disturbing because of the ubiquity of social media and its deep penetration into our daily lives, plus the anonymity offered by certain platforms which facilitates this phenomenon," ADL CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt said.
Earlier this year, Google removed an extension on its Chrome browser which allowed users to identify and track suspected Jewish members of the media and entertainment industries.
While it was active, Coincidence Detector identified suspected or confirmed Jews by adding triple parentheses to their names wherever they were referenced online. According to Mic, the extension had been downloaded more than 2,700 times and had a database of 8,700 people at the time it was removed and had a five-star rating.
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