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Google demotes Holocaust denial sites with change in search algorithm

Posted: 11:04 AM, Dec 28, 2016
Updated: 2016-12-28 16:10:09Z
Google demotes Holocaust denial sites with change in search algorithm

Google is working behind the scenes to change how search results pop up regarding the Holocaust and other sensitive cultural and racial issues.

Until recently, search results for queries about the Holocaust popped up sites published by neo-Nazi sites claiming it never happened. 

If someone doing a search for "Did the Holocaust happen?" then Google would pull top results to sites such as Stormfront, which calls the Holocaust a lie.

Fortune Magazine reported that while Google was hesitant, at first, to make changes to its search function because of a "desire to preserve the integrity of the company's algorithm's, which are designed to turn up relevant information," a spokesperson said the company is changing its position.

"Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right," the spokesperson told Fortune. "We recently made improvements to our algorithm that will help surface more high quality, credible content on the web. We’ll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.”

Google has run into similar issues in the past with their search algorithm auto-completing results for questions about other ethnic groups such as "Are women evil?" and "Are Jews evil?"

Up to 15 percent of Google search terms are new each day, a company representative told CNET

"Because of this, terms that appear in Autocomplete may be unexpected or unpleasant," the representative said. "We do our best to prevent offensive terms, like porn and hate speech, from appearing, but we acknowledge that Autocomplete isn't an exact science and we're always working to improve our algorithms."