Google tweaks search algorithm that yielded Holocaust denial sites

“We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web.”

December 27, 2016 16:01
2 minute read.
Google seach

Google seach . (photo credit: screenshot)

Search engine giant Google has reportedly altered an algorithm to prevent Holocaust denial websites from appearing in search results after weeks of controversy over the issue.

While Google allegedly made a previous tweak to bump down white supremacist websites and other outlets that claimed the Holocaust did not happen, the new fix apparently has removed such results altogether, technology outlet Digital Trends reported over the weekend.

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“We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web,” Digital Trends quoted a Google spokesperson as saying. “We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.”

“Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right,” the Google representative said, further explaining that the company had made "improvements" to the algorithm when confronting "non-authoritative information."

However, the effectiveness and longevity of the change remains unclear.

The reported move seemed to indicate a shift in Google's previous stance on responding to the issue.

"We do not remove content from our search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines," Fortune magazine cited a Google spokesperson as previously stating.

The scandal at hand erupted after the search engine came under fire for enabling neo-Nazi and Holocaust-denying websites to rank high up in search results for queries such as: "Did the Holocaust happen?"

British media last week claimed that the search returned several results denying that it did, with the top result directing users to a white supremacist site titled "Stormfront," which suggests that the genocide of six millions Jews that took place during World War II had never occurred.

The neo-Nazi website boasted of a page called "Top 10 reasons why the holocaust didn't happen."

At the time, a Google representative said that the company was working on an appropriate response to the complaint.

"The fact that hate sites may appear in search results in no way means that Google endorses these views," he added. 

The extremely prominent availability of material attempting to disprove one of the most atrocious events in human history came under acute scrutiny seeing that people turn to the Internet in the digital age as an immediate and exclusive source of information.

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