Google’s battle against fake news & problematic content

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Google is stepping up its effort to rid its search result pages of fake news, disturbing answers and offensive search suggestions with its internally named Project Owl initiative.

When announcing the company’s new search rankings update, Google’s Vice President of Engineering Ben Gomes hailed the move as the search engine “taking the next step toward continuing to surface more high-quality content from the web”.

There are plenty of key developments to be taken from the Project Owl initiative, including Google improving its evaluation methods and making algorithmic updates so to boost more authoritative content. The company has also updated its Search Quality Rater Guidelines so that low-quality web pages can be flagged more appropriately, as well as adjusted its ranking signals to boost more authoritative pages and, in turn, demote examples of low-quality content.

However, arguably the most interesting advancement from Project Owl is the introduction of direct feedback tools, meaning people can quickly flag content that is unexpected, inaccurate or offensive.

These tools are available on Google right now, so here’s a step-by-step guide on how you can join Google’s fight against fake news and problematic content when it comes to suggested search results, Featured Snippets and knowledge graphs alike:

Suggested search results

1. Head to and begin typing something into the search box (We’re using ‘how to’ as an example).


2. Found something in the list of suggested results that is incorrect or offensive? Click the phrase ‘Report inappropriate predictions’ just under the list of suggested results.


3. In this pop-up box, you can select the inappropriate search phrases and choose a reason why they are unsuitable (only one reason can be selected). You can also add any additional comments about the issue.


Featured Snippets

1. The new direct feedback tools can also be found on the SERPs. Using ‘How to make pancakes’ as our example, the first instance can be seen on the Featured Snippets part of the page.


2. If you believe the content found in this Featured Snippet is inaccurate, offensive or unexpected for the search term, click the ‘Feedback’ button found on the bottom right of the Snippet.


Knowledge Graphs

1. Another instance where you can now give instant feedback on a SERPs page is on the alternate Knowledge Graph answers part of the page.


2. This process works much the same way as how you would give feedback for a Featured Snippet’s content. Begin by clicking the ‘Feedback’ button found under the list of generated questions.


3. In the pop-up box, you can give you opinion of the questions listed and the answers provided, as well as providing further comment.


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