Google’s Featured Snippets Are Worse than Fake News

Article Google’s Featured Snippets Are Worse than Fake News

The highlighted answers given prime placement over search results are often shockingly bad.

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Google’s “featured snippets” that sometimes top the usual search results aim to give “one true answer” to your search question. And sometimes, that works really well. Unfortunately, too often the snippet displays wildly inaccurate information from unreliable sources. Adrianne Jeffries, senior editor at The Outline, lists both comical and disturbing examples of answers that Google deemed true and worthy of promotion and explains why she thinks misleading snippets are even more dangerous than fake news. getAbstract recommends double-checking Google’s top answers.

Summary

Google’s “featured snippets” appear at the top of the search results and are supposed to represent the “one true answer” to a user’s question. According to one such snippet, former US president Warren Harding was a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). That information didn’t seem right to history professor Peter Shulman. The source article on which Google’s algorithm based the snippet turned out to be a weakly cited, nonscholarly article from an unreliable source. No US president was a member of the KKK. In this case, the one true answer ...

About the Author

Adrianne Jeffries is senior editor at The Outline and a reporter with experience in print, video, audio and Snapchat journalism.


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