October 3, 2017

THEY JUST AREN’T VERY GOOD AT THIS STUFF: After Las Vegas shooting, Facebook and Google get the news wrong again.

“Unfortunately, early this morning we were briefly surfacing an inaccurate 4chan website in our Search results for a small number of queries,” Google said in a statement. “Within hours, the 4chan story was algorithmically replaced by relevant results. This should not have appeared for any queries, and we’ll continue to make algorithmic improvements to prevent this from happening in the future.”

So, in other words, this is yet another case of “don’t blame us, blame our algorithm.” That’s not exactly what anyone wants to hear, especially when hundreds of millions of people get their news from Facebook and Google. They both need to know that dealing with these kind of issues “within hours,” as the search giant said, simply isn’t enough. Stories can go viral in a matter of minutes. Not only that, but if Facebook can’t keep something like its Crisis Response page clean, then what hope is there for the rest of its platform? And the same goes for Google’s Top Stories, which is often the first thing people see in their search results.

And that’s just the stuff they get wrong on accident, instead of by design.

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