Last week a couple of Google researchers published a paper on the possibility of fact checking websites and ranking search results based on accuracy instead of possibility.
Personally I'm thrilled with the idea. I'm tired of doing a search on Google and then having to sift through the pseudo science, myths and conspiracy theories. It may never happen, certainly not for a long time. Google researchers probably published a dozen or so research papers last week on all kinds of things, most of which will never happen.
Even if Google decides that they want to do this, the research paper outlines several obstacles they'd have to overcome first.
However, not everyone is thrilled with the idea even in principle.
When Fox News published a piece on the research paper they interviewed, primarily, climate change deniers and those who think that 'the media' and apparently Google have a "left wing bias".
"... critics worry that this is a first step towards Google playing God and effectively censoring content it does not like. They fear that skeptics of things like climate change or more immigration (both subjects that Google founders have expressed strong feelings about) might find their websites buried if this ranking system were adopted," says Maxim Lott of Fox.
There was absolutely no discussion of the possible advantages, or discussion with anyone who felt it was a good idea - though there was some reassurance from a Google representative that it was only a research paper.
Fox's concerns were echoed by Evolution News, a deceptively named creationist site.
Articles like this are further evidence that Google should immediately plunge ahead with trying to make the truth checker a thing. Part of the reason that American politics is polarized is that people have been allowed to think that things that are simply true are 'controversial' and that there are 'two sides' to issues where there is really only one.
Evolution is a fact, human caused climate change is a fact and the media does not have a 'left wing bias', but reality frequently does.
The fact that Fox's own rankings would likely take a severe hit from such a system is just a happy coincidence.
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