Google has changed its algorithm to completely remove Holocaust denial results for the query ‘Did the Holocaust happen?’. Google Search, which earlier showed link to a Stormfront’s article on 10 reasons why the Holocaust didn’t happen, has removed that result and other similar Holocaust denial sites. Stormfront is a neo-Nazi, white supremacist website. Digital Trends quoted a spokesperson from Google, who said, “Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right.”
Google’s u-turn comes after it had earlier said it won’t be removing the result. In an earlier comment to Fortune magazine, Google has said it does “not remove content from search results, except in very limited cases such as illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines.” But now it looks like Google is cracking down on this sort of content, which spreads false information.
Google has altered its search results in the past as well. The search giant removed phrases like ‘are jews evil’, ‘are muslims bad’ and ‘are women evil’ from the autocomplete feature in the search box after a Guardian report had highlighted these. However search results from websites around topics like these still continue to figure in Google search results. Many of these are from white-supremacist websites, which spew racial, religious hatred against minority communities, women.
In fact as the Gizmodo reports points out if you search on phrases like ‘are jews evil’ etc, results from Stormfront still appear in the first page. A query on ‘Are Muslims evil’ also include anti-Muslim articles in the first page of results itself.
However, a Google spokesperson in a statement to Gizmodo said the company will continue to make changes to its algorithm over time to ‘tackle such challenges’. Whether this means that in future misleading websites with false information get removed altogether from results remains to be seen.