Gaming Google News

Turns out that it’s surprisingly easy to game:

It appears that news sites deemed legitimate by Google News are being modified by third parties. These sites are then exploited to redirect to the spam content. It appears that the compromised sites are examining the referrer and redirecting visitors coming from Google News.

Posted on June 16, 2017 at 6:42 AM7 Comments


Ronnie June 16, 2017 12:26 PM

Thanks I was wondering about this last weekend when preview text for 15 of the first 17 articles seemed to be nonsensical spam.

@k15 There is a ‘Send Feedback’ link at the bottom of the page – not the greatest but it allows you to highlight the problem article(s) and put in a complaint.

Ross Snider June 16, 2017 12:54 PM

And unfortunately the solution is worse than the problem. The knee-jerk solution to this will be to ask Google to please staff a team to track unwanted content in news articles.

It’s extremely difficult to get the body count of the US bombardment of civilians in Syria and Iraq, for example. I don’t know that Google is about to make that kind of information any easier to get. In addition, much of the news that Google is going to invariably deem legitimate is going to have all sorts of issues with it – from topic and perspective bias, to editorization, to mistaken priority (I remember when the Caitlyn Jenner story engulfed the news and, on a practical basis, hid the revelation that the FBI was surveilling most American cities with aerial-fed big-data pipelines).

The issues that Google is bound to wade into here, and the issues we’re bound to beg Google to wade into, are much bigger societal problems that a for profit company recently anointed with partnerships to the world’s largest powerhouses are going to be able to solve with trade secrets.

phanmo June 18, 2017 1:56 AM

I started noticing this about a month ago, I even sent a email to the (purported) source, assuming that they’d been hacked.

I have a number of keyword triggers set up in Google news, it’s actually pretty useful.

Anon June 19, 2017 5:13 PM

Something is very wrong when a massive private company with compelling reason to control the media decides what is “fake news”, or anything else.

They’re the last company in the world I would ask.

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