You Are Now Looking at The Most Accurate News Website in the World –
The Big Picture –
By Glynn Wilson –
Finally, some positive earth shaking news from Webland, and the implications are simply staggering. It means you are now looking at the most accurate news Website in the world, and Google is about ready to verify that.
The researchers at Google have published a paper discussing the implications of ranking Websites not on their popularity, like Facebook, but on their accuracy. That’s right.
Look out climate change deniers and Republican liars. You are about to be buried by the world’s top search engine.
Writing for the Washington Post, Chris Mooney says, “For some time, those of us studying the problem of misinformation in U.S. politics — and especially scientific misinformation — have wondered whether Google could come along and solve the problem in one fell swoop. After all, if Web content were rated such that it came up in searches based on its actual accuracy — rather than based on its link-based popularity — then quite a lot of misleading stuff might effectively get buried.”
Not that Google is ready to implement this strategy overnight, mind you. But it does give some hope to those few of us who refuse to publish lies to balance news stories or run anonymous comments spouting idiocy — just to get traffic and make money.
The story is also being talked about over at Salon.com, another news magazine that once refused to run one of my stories because I did not include the lies from both sides. The Huffington Post better watch out as well. Their celebrity tabloid might not continue to be the traffic king it has been since being bought out by AOL.com.
Heretofore, Google has ranked Websites based on “hyperlink structure of the graph,” whatever that is. The researchers are now proposing “a new approach that relies on … the correctness of factual information provided by the source. A source that has few false facts is considered to be trustworthy.”
Yes! Finally! Sounds like my definition of scientifically objective journalism.
The new paper draws on a prior Google research project called the Knowledge Vault, where a billion “facts” have been grabbed from the Web and compared with other sources. For 271 million of these facts, the probability of actual correctness is more than 90 percent, according to Google, which says 119 million Web pages were rated.
And guess what? Gossip sites and Web forums end up being ranked very low, despite their popularity. Now will Facbook get the picture?
This “Knowledge Based-Trust” could well be a major step into making the Web more accurate and trustworthy for readers, an approach I have taken as an editor since first publishing on the Web back in the Southerner.Net days in the 1990s. Why can’t we have publishing standards like the great magazines of old?
Newspapers won’t necessarily qualify, even the vaunted New York Times. Why? Because it publishes Associated Press stories every day that contain many factual inaccuracies in quotations from political players who lie for a living. This is the old fashioned economic objectivity that says publish any and all points of few whether or not they are true. Let the public decide what to believe.
Climate change skeptics are already going into apoplectic fits over this news, apparently, worried beyond belief at the direction Google might be headed.
What if Google asks whether a Website concludes that climate change is being caused by global warming mainly from the burning of fossil fuels? Or whether it publishes more responses denying these facts? And ranks the site based on the results? If that were the case, we would be the number one ranked news Website in the world, since I have never published a single quotation from a climate change denier, not even in the comments. I simply publish every study proving climate change and global warming are real as straight news.
I stand with Chris Mooney, who says, “I say bring them.”
The late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously observed that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinions, but not to his own facts.”
“The problem in the U.S. over the past decade in particular, however,” Mooney writes — especially thanks to talk radio and Fox News – “is that everyone does seem to have his own facts — at least around certain politicized topics.”
“But if anyone can bring us back to a shared reality, well, it’s Google.”
We will see. I am waiting for our improved ranking. This news comes on the day when I was just about to abandon Google adsense ads for another company. Maybe I should wait a few days and see what Google concludes.
© 2015 – 2016, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.