It’s true …

Good news, Google is introducing a truth ranking algorithm to its search engine. I know this because I read it in New Scientist.

THE internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free “news” stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix – rank websites according to their truthfulness.

The prospect of being spared the drivel emanating from the anti-vaccination brigade, the anti GM brigade, the anti-fracking brigade, the doom sayers, homeopaths and the other side of politics is highly desirable. What would I give up for that?

But, who is going to decide what’s true? What if big players decide not to play fair?

In early 2006 the BBC had a seminar to decide what was true in the realm of climate change. Executives met with a room full of invited experts and decided that the truth was evident and henceforth their coverage of this issue should be one-sided, presumably for the public good. The BBC Trust reported that this was on the advice of the best scientific experts. Subsequently the BBC spent tens of thousands of pounds in an effort to avoid revealing who these experts were. Ultimately it transpired that they were representatives of pressure groups such as Greenpeace and Stop Climate Chaos.

Our ABC also ignores its charter and campaigns for social improvement rather than report the truth. If you rely on the ABC for your news you are probably dismayed at how slowly the canonisations of St Julia Gillard and St Gillian Triggs are progressing.

As always we should be careful what we wish for, without fact free news the main stream media would go broke, New Scientist included.


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