One of the most uninspired decisions you can make when hoping to find reliable information on a hotly contested topic (e.g. the war in Ukraine) is to simply search on Google Search, using keywords that everyone uses. .
Unlike direct access to reputable news sites that you know in advance, using Google Search is a safe way to target sites that only exploit that topic for impressions, presenting information sensationally. which may be inaccurate or already outdated. But the biggest danger is the sites that appeared more or less overnight, convincingly delivering all sorts of misinformation and manipulation. According to Google, the spread and visibility of misinformation in Google Search listings should be greatly diminished from now on.
The strategy chosen by Google is not exactly new, consisting of displaying at the top and marking links to trusted sites using a new tag “highly cited”, in the idea that visitors will take this landmark into account. , following the recommended sources of information. In practice, Facebook administrators probably have something to say about the tendency of a not insignificant category of users, already trapped in the “universe” of conspiracy theories, to reject and actively circumvent the sources of information offered to them “by others”. .
Especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and even more so on the subject of the Russo-Ukrainian war, the disinformation campaigns carried out in the online environment have taken on frightening proportions, the false news about these topics spreading rapidly on social networks.
In addition, the search engine will be able to show visible notifications for search results for breaking news, informing users that these events are in full swing, and that it may take longer for trusted sources to post complete information. It is not uncommon for the first information to appear to be pure misinformation circulating through propaganda networks supported by state actors, with the idea of diverting the narrative of events from public opinion.
The notifications will also include tips on how to evaluate information online and how to check if a source is trusted or not. At the same time, the displayed results will be dated and challenged by displaying information from alternative sources, already known to be reliable.
Initially, highly cited tags will only be applied to searches and content in English, with other regions and languages being added in the coming weeks.