Less than two months before the United States presidential election, Google announced changes to the auto-complete feature. The company said it would stop showing suggestions in polls related to candidates and elections. The idea is to avoid “terms that can be interpreted as demonstrations for or against any candidate or political party”.
The search engine will also stop displaying suggestions for research related to voting methods, voting requirements, status of polling stations and election integrity, for example. Therefore, searches for donations should not be completed with the names of any of the candidates. The change, of course, will not prevent users from searching for any information.
Most of the search suggestions remain unchanged, according to Google. The decision, however, points to the concern to avoid criticism about the searcher’s partiality. The company is often the target of complaints from conservative politicians, including U.S. President Donald Trump, about alleged manipulation of results to undermine conservative speeches.
Google claims that its products are not politically biased and that the search engine’s algorithm undergoes rigorous evaluations before receiving changes. Still, the main idea seems to be precisely to dismiss charges. In announcing the update, the company said that with the new coronavirus pandemic, it became even more important to provide reliable and unbiased information on elections.
Google adopted more measures against disinformation
In its announcement, Google also introduced new measures to avoid misinformation in its search engine. One of them is Intelligence Desk, a team of analysts who monitor news from around the world and signal any disinformation campaigns. The service also received a change in the algorithm to give more prominence to fact checks in searches for recent news.
The company also improved the detection of vandalism on Wikipedia, which provides information on the panels that appear alongside conventional results. Now, the search engine has a protection layer that identifies 99% of malicious editions and quickly alerts the editors of the encyclopedia.
With information: Gizmodo.