Google says it will block autocomplete search suggestions that could sway voters ahead of the US election

Sundar Pichai
  • With the US election looming, Google says it will put a block on certain autocomplete suggestions in search that could surface misinformation.
  • Google's autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing, but searching for topics around voting or donations could point users to incorrect information.
  • "That might mean some perfectly benign predictions get swept up in this," said a Google senior director.
  • Are you a Google insider with more to share? Contact this reporter using encrypted email ([email protected]) or encrypted messaging apps Signal/Telegram (628-228-1836).
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With the US presidential election approaching, Google is making some changes to avoid the spread of misinformation, including a removal of certain autocomplete predictions in search.

The company said Thursday it will remove autocomplete predictions "that could be interpreted as claims for or against any candidate or political party."

This will also extend to queries about the process, such as questions about voting by mail, or queries about donations.

Google's autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing, but queries around voting or political candidates could lead to incorrect information being surfaced.

"We want to be careful about the type of information we highlight in the search feature given its prominence," said David Graff, Google's senior director, for global policy and standards, during a press roundtable. 

"That might mean some perfectly benign predictions get swept up in this," he later added.

The news came as part of a broader announcement from Google, which mostly reiterated work that has been done to curb the spread of misinformation through search.

As for Election Day itself, Google said it doesn't have any other specific policy changes planned, but is preparing for all sorts of possible outcomes.

"We have done a lot of preparation expecting there might be some changing information on that day, and we're definitely going to have a group of people on video call with each other tracking how things are going throughout the day," said Cathy Edwards, Google's VP of engineering.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Comments are closed.