why the search engine will no longer answer certain questions

The Google search engine will stop answering certain questions, in order to fight against false information. Indeed, Internet users wonder, for example, about conspiratorial ideas and Google, through its alrogithm, answers them. To avoid this, several solutions are considered.

Google answers 80,000 questions per second. Among the most asked in 2021: How to tie a tie knot? How to kiss? How to get pregnant? How to lose weight? Earn money?

Each question gets an answer, more or less correct. The search engine often displays an excerpt from a news site or Wikipedia page, as a summary at the very top of the results. This saves time but it is not always relevant.

While some answers are correct, others stray from the truth. For example, if you ask when Snoopy assassinated Abraham Lincoln, the date, April 14, 1965, will be displayed. Yet the beagle named Snoopy has nothing to do with it.

Unverified and false information

Worse still, in 2017, when asked “Is Barack Obama planning a coup?”, the featured snippet explained at the very top of the results how President “Obama might plan a communist coup end of his term”. It was obviously false information, copied and pasted on a conspiracy site.

It is to prevent this unverified, often false and potentially dangerous information from being communicated that Google wants to sort the answers provided.

Warning messages

Currently, programmers are reviewing their algorithms. They say they have already removed 40% of the erroneous excerpts. They are now about to display warning messages in case a correct answer does not really exist.

This still raises the question of freedom of expression, because it is ultimately a handful of engineers who will rule in an office in Silicon Valley.

Loïc Rivières (edited by Astrid Bergere)

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