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Gelf Magazine report on Google News’ selection of sources

Jul 2005

David Goldenberg of Gelf Magazine has an interesting report about how Google News chooses sources to get its news from. Satire sites like Axis of Logic and Unconfirmed Sources are finding their way into Google News. Problems of misinterpretation obviously arise when they’re presented by Google in the same manner as straight news. Even when Google News applies the satire tag to the news sources, it isn’t always accurate — Goldenberg cites the case of Wonkette which is labelled as satire, yet a similar site like Gawker doesn’t carry such a label.

Some of the reasons why Google News excludes some sites are obvious (foul language, extremist political views), but the criteria for site selection is obfuscated. However, it is clear that reader input into Google News has something to do with it. Goldenberg cites a few cases where Google News has listed or de-listed sites because of emails from readers. So that may be why satire sites and fake-news sites are included at all — because people like them. While Google News arranges their scraped content by algorithm, inclusion is still a popularity contest.

Does Google News Have a Sense of Humor?

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