Naga5000's WunderBlog

Google News Aggregator and Ethical Resposibility in Science Related Articles

By: Naga5000, 12:30 PM GMT on April 15, 2013

This morning in Google News' Science section, a report caught my eye entitled "Antarctic ice sheet melt 'not that unusual', latest ice core shows" Link. This article from the Register, written by Lewis Page(who has a history of denialist leans when writing about climate) is just another article in a long line for his misinterpretation of data to support his own agenda.

Without getting into the problems with his article, which are irrelevant for this blog (however, I do urge you to read his article for factual information as well as to see the abstract of the paper he claims shows what he says it shows...it does not), the question comes up on Google's ethical responsibility to science in the Science section of their News Aggregator.

Google's service uses a proprietary algorithm to rank news by relevance. They have needed to tweak their algorithm in order to remove certain papers and online sources due to legal rulings in the past. So should Google tweak their algorithm to prevent opinion pieces, especially those that go against proven science, from appearing in their Aggregator service?

Before any start screaming about free speech and freedom of the press, these do not apply here. Google is a private corporation and well within in rights to limit what news articles appear in their service.

The problem lies in what the right thing to do is. Google News Aggregator is in the top 3 most widely used aggregators. In this position, should they ensure they only promote accurate and scientifically sound articles to their Science section? I would suggest, at the very least, they include a "Science Opinion" section.

One topic of Dr. Rood's blogs is how to implement change on Climate Change. I support arriving at this change through shifts in public opinion, and articles like this do nothing but hinder this change and allow denialists to continue a campaign of misinformation and untruths.

Should Google have an ethical responsibility to promote truth in science, or should this practice remain as it currently is? I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions, and please keep it civil.

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Orlando, FL
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Updated: 12:25 PM EST on January 28, 2015

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