Published: Mon, December 18, 2017
IT | By Lester Massey

Google stops showing news sites that hide their country of origin

Google stops showing news sites that hide their country of origin

As part of its ongoing mission to keep misleading news at a distance, Google has updated its News guidelines to keep away readers from websites which are dishonest about their country of origin. The government has called on Google to take punitive action, and while the update will not eradicate news from those that accurately represent their country of origin, the tech giant seems to be heeding the congress' advice. "This includes, but isn't limited to, sites that misrepresent or hide their country of origin or are directed at users in another country under false premises", says the firm.

Google has moved to block from its news search publications that mask their country of origin or intentionally mislead readers in a further step to curb the spread of fake news that has plagued internet companies of late.

Google also allows publishers to file a spam report if they believe that another publisher has violated Google News inclusion guidelines. The guidelines also made it clear that "advertising and other paid promotional material" on news pages "cannot exceed your content".

Speaking to Bloomberg, a Google spokesperson noted that the change in policy is in order to "reflect a constantly changing web and how people look for information online".

Alphabet Inc's Google, Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc have faced a cascade of criticism, regulatory scrutiny and public concern over the rise in misleading news. The urgency to do so was felt after revelations of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 USA presidential elections, where the Russians allegedly targeted sections of people with socially divisive ads and misleading information. As such, the update will affect those who implement misinformation tactics and campaigns, such as the likes of the techniques used by the Russian Internet Research Agency who posed as a credible US outlet to acquire an estimated 50,000 audience through Twitter. Google plans to stop fake news from showing up on its news portal - Google News. "Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the removal of your article (s), or entire site, from Google News", it added.

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