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Google Seeks to Break Vicious Cycle of Online Slander


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Sign outside a Google facility.

Google is responding to concerns that it amplifies unverified or slanderous claims made about people on certain websites.

Credit: Laura Morton/The New York Times

For many years, the vicious cycle has spun: Websites solicit lurid, unverified complaints about supposed cheaters, sexual predators, deadbeats and scammers. People slander their enemies. The anonymous posts appear high in Google results for the names of victims. Then the websites charge the victims thousands of dollars to take the posts down.

This circle of slander has been lucrative for the websites and associated middlemen — and devastating for victims. Now Google is trying to break the loop.

The company plans to change its search algorithm to prevent websites, which operate under domains like BadGirlReport.date and PredatorsAlert.us, from appearing in the list of results when someone searches for a person's name.

From The New York Times
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