Fact free “news” has a tendency to spread on the internet, and subsequently receives a lot of inbound links from other web pages citing it as gospel. However, Google are in the process of designing new software that will see an end to the way websites are ranked in their search engines.
Currently, the way a website is ranked on Google is down to the likes of keywords and incoming links to the website to determine its quality – so if a website is linked to by a lot of other places, it will show higher in Google’s search results.
This formula has developed and progressed the search engine we all know and love. However, the main downside to this form of SEO is that a number of websites that are reporting on anything but the truth or ‘joke’ websites are rising higher up search engine rankings.
Google are currently in the research stage of modifying its system to measure websites on their trustworthiness rather than the amount of links they gather elsewhere. Instead of measuring incoming links, a new method is being set up to count the number of false facts on a page. This will be measured in scores, and the scores they compute will be known as a Knowledge-Based Trust score.
By studying content through the Knowledge Vault, Google can successfully monitor web page rankings by computing the websites that are unanimously agreed with as a general proxy for truth. Websites that show as a general disagreement will eventually filter lower through Google’s search engine results.
A number of apps are already around for this including LazyTruth, a Google Chrome extension that, in its own words: “surfaces quality information when you receive an email forward full of political myths, urban legends, or security threats”. LazyTruth skims inboxes for false information and allows you to know what is the truth and what is a lie.
People are often tricked by fake news stories and ‘joke’ outlets, so it may not be too long before we see Google’s new software in action.