Misinformation is really common especially after a major news event like a Mass Shooting. Pandu Nayak, a senior Google engineer told the Guardian about how Google is changing its algorithm to tackle this problem.
He explains that now Google will be able to recognize when a bad event is taking place and then adjust the algorithm accordingly. To do this they adjust the weight of ‘authority’ in the rankings to promote the most accurate information possible. ‘
‘Authority’ is when pages match the standards set by the company’s search quality evaluator guidelines and then given to search quality raters who tweak the algorithm. These raters base everything on two scales: whether the search needs are met and the quality of the page. 80 pages of the guidelines define quality based on “very high-quality MC” (main content), “very high level of E-A-T” (expertise, authoritativeness, trustworthiness) and “very positive reputation”. So during a crisis by putting more weight on ‘authority’ the quality of the search results should increase and the likelihood of misinformation should decrease.
Pandu Nayak explains why they don’t just go through every search result page and manually removing the inaccurate information is because it doesn’t solve the problem of misinformation.
“So in this particular case what we really want to do is to go down and understand why this problem occurred in the first place. Like, what was that in our algorithms that caused this problem to occur? And you get to the heart of the problem, you fix that, and now, even if you don’t solve the whole iceberg, you solve a large part of the iceberg.”
So during the crisis or news event, the change in the algorithm will kick in. Then when the crisis ends the Algorithm will return to normal.