Date Published: 7th March 2017

Google are being accused of spreading fake news, after being repeatedly found to be sharing false information in it’s ‘featured snippets’ function.


The ‘featured snippets in search’ functionality automatically displays short answers from common searches, provided by the most popular websites. The displayed content is shown directly in the search results, and also forms some of the quick provided through Google’s smart speaker device, the Google Home.


When it works, it means the search engine can quickly provide answers to basic questions without the user to click a further link.  When it doesn’t work, it displays information from fake news sites and political propaganda.


Examples of things asking Google would tell you incorrectly include; monosodium glutamate causes brain damage, Barack Obama is the King of the US, and that US president Warren Harding was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.


Google has previously managed to avoid being the centre of any fake news scandals, as Facebook has copped most of the flack on that subject.  Google has issued an apology for the errors, and have added that any issues they are made aware of are promptly removed.


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