“Fake news” is probably one of the most recognizable terms to come out of 2017, and Google has certainly had to work to prevent illegitimate sources from showing in search results. Especially in the case of tragedies, Google’s news results this year have pulled up alarming results, and the company is continually taking steps to fix these issues.
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A change in Google’s policy (via Bloomberg) reveals that the company is stopping sites from showing up in news results if they mask their country of origin. Sites are now forbidden to “misrepresent or conceal their country of origin or are directed at users in another country under false premises.” In other words, a site from a foreign country can’t say it’s from the US.
Speaking to Bloomberg, a Google spokeswomen explains that this move is meant to make Google’s news results more accurate and transparent.
We update our policies on a regular basis to reflect a constantly changing web and how people look for information online. As a result, we want to ensure that people can understand and see where their news online is coming from and that sites are being transparent about their origins.
It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Google is doing this, especially with pressure from lawmakers and general consumer awareness of “fake news.” This also isn’t Google’s first move on tightening up search results like this, as was mentioned back in October.