Fake election news on Google prompts a quick response

Facebook isn't the only platform defending itself against an onslaught of misleading articles from bogus sites.

It turns out that Facebook isn't the only media company with a fake news problem. On Sunday night, Twitter user Aza Raskin pointed out that the top result in a Google search for election results was a fake news article falsely claiming that Donald Trump won the popular vote.

"Reality," wrote Raskin in the tweet, "is what people collectively believe."

The discovery made waves online, and by Monday afternoon, Google felt compelled to issue a statement. "The goal of Search is to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users," said the spokesman. "In this case we clearly didn't get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms."

The fake article—from a website called "70 News," with a tagline that reads "sharing news that matters to you"—is listed underneath the search engine's own calculation of the final results.

The article sited its one source—a tweet from a share market trader:

The Google dustup comes after a weekend in which Mark Zuckerberg took issue with allegations that the proliferation of fake news on Facebook had unfairly influenced the presidental election.

"Of all the content on Facebook, more than 99% of what people see is authentic," Zuckerberg wrote. "Only a very small amount is fake news and hoaxes. The hoaxes that do exist are not limited to one partisan view, or even to politics. Overall, this makes it extremely unlikely hoaxes changed the outcome of this election in one direction or the other.

Google only removes content from its search results if the content is illegal, if its malware or of it violates its webmaster guidelines. One of the "Basic Principles" listed on the site is "Don't deceive your users." The article has not been removed, but it no longer appears as the first result.

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