Google starts weeding out hateful, violent content from search results

Gelo Gonzales
Google starts weeding out hateful, violent content from search results
The search giant's updated content review policies take aim at offensive material

MANILA, Philippines – The quest to snuff out offensive content in mainstream web services takes another step as Google updates its content-flagging policies. 

Google’s content review teams, a group of 10,000 contractors worldwide, now have the option of flagging offensive websites with the new “upsetting-offensive” flag. The review teams, officially known as “quality raters”, analyze websites that appear in search results and score the quality of their content. 

Prior to the updated policies, the review teams have already been looking out for questionable content such as pornography. With the new guidelines, the raters will begin looking for racial slurs, hate or violence against particular groups of people, animal cruelty, child abuse and graphic violence. Also on their radar are instructional pieces that may be harmful to society such as how-to guides on human trafficking. 

The review data submitted by the raters, however, don’t instantly affect search results. When they flag a website, it doesn’t automatically go down in search rankings.

Instead, the data is collected by Google, and is used to teach its algorithms what websites should rank high and what shouldn’t when a person performs a search – with the hope of eventually producing better search results through time. (Read: How we can stop the hate

Hateful content has been in the crosshair of tech companies of late, with other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter also rolling out anti-hate methods. Most recently, Germany even proposed heavy fines on Facebook for hate speech.

Google’s updated policies indicate that the search giant is also on board in the fight against internet-assisted hate and bigotry. 

Google’s full content review guidelines are available here. –


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Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.