Google is fighting back against Holocaust-deniers in a really important way
I’d venture a guess that most of us have never Googled the question “did the Holocaust happen?” because, you know, the answer is so glaringly obvious. Unfortunately, it’s not a huge surprise that certain people do enter this query into their search boxes — so Google is fighting back against Holocaust-deniers in an important way.
Earlier this month, Fortune reported that the top search result for that question was a neo-Nazi site claiming the atrocity never happened. (Yes, really.)
After receiving a great deal of well-deserved public criticism, Google has altered its algorithm so the white supremacist site run by Holocaust-deniers now appears lower in the search results.
"Google was built on providing people with high-quality and authoritative results for their search queries," the company told Digital Trends. "We strive to give users a breadth of diverse content from variety of sources and we’re committed to the principle of a free and open web. Judging which pages on the web best answer a query is a challenging problem and we don’t always get it right."
Although this is absolutely a step in the right direction, the neo-Nazi website still appears on the first page of search results. The company told Fortune that they only remove content from search results if it contains “illegal content, malware and violations of our webmaster guidelines.”
So, although it’s been knocked from the number one spot, dangerous white supremacist propaganda is allowed to remain in Google’s search results.
But, plenty of people are committed to fighting the good fight until this morally reprehensible content is removed completely — and it’s an especially important fight right now, because America has seen a surge in anti-Semitism throughout Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and eventual victory.
"Facebook is getting slaughtered on the fake news front, but in many ways, this Google problem is more insidious," Heidi Beirich, intelligence project director for the Southern Poverty Law Center told NBC. "People might assume that what they're getting is vetted, and that certainly is not the case."
Google took action after the public’s initial outcry, so the best thing we can do is to continue to hold the site accountable — a neo-Nazi site has no place on the search engine, whether it’s in the top spot or the thousandth. Based on the company’s swift response to Fortune‘s report, I’m hopeful they’ll continue to fight Holocaust-deniers if we make sure our message is heard loud and clear.