• Google to block search suggestion in run up to US election

    Date:11 September 2020 Author: Leila Stein

    The run up to the 2020 US election has been filled with concerns around how US citizens could be manipulated by social media and fake news. To help combat this, Google said it will block some autocomplete search suggestions to stem the spread of misinformation.

    This announcement has come out right after the release of the Netflix documentary the Social Dilemma expressly pointed out how Google’s autocomplete function is enabled to feed audiences information that confirms their biases.

    As there is significant fear that fake news and targeted misinformation will be used to sway the US elections, Google has said it will pull the autocomplete for information about participation in the election, according to Bloomberg.

    This will include statements about voting methods, requirements, status of voting locations and election security.

    “That might mean some perfectly benign predictions get swept up in this,” said David Graff, senior director of global policy & standards at Google. “We think that’s the most responsible approach, particularly when it comes to elections-related queries.”

    This doesn’t mean the information isn’t searchable but it will mean that users won’t be prompted with answers that send them to specific sites with big hits. Often, the sites with the most sensational or radical views which house misinformation get boosted to the top of Google because of their draw or background manipulation by bots and programmes.

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