When the news came out about the Teas church shooter came out, a number of searches went to Google to learn more about the shooter. The thing they found when searching the shooter’s name in Google Sunday night, was highlighted tweets from Google’s Twitter partnership that displayed misinformation. On the evening of November 6, Google issued a statement where they promised to improve the accuracy of the tweets shown in that search feature, just like it was done for the top news stories some time ago.
The following are some examples of what was shown in the Google search results for a query on the shooter’s name:
Google’s ‘Popular On Twitter’ news feature is a misinformation gutter. Search for Devin Patrick Kelley just now surfaced these four items. pic.twitter.com/06rcPOgx5b
— Justin Hendrix (@justinhendrix) November 6, 2017
The search results appearing from Twitter, which surface based on our ranking algorithms, are changing second by second and represent a dynamic conversation that is going on in near real-time. For the queries in question, they are not the first results we show on the page. Instead, they appear after news sources, including our Top Stories carousel which we have been constantly updating. We’ll continue to look at ways to improve how we rank tweets that appear in search.
This isn’t the first time Google has come under fire in their history around what they show in their search results around breaking news. The company has often taken the criticism and made improvements for the better. Chances are, this will be the case again.
Danny Sullivan, who is now with Google, took the lad on Google’s end to communicate how Google is aware of the issue, and not thrilled with the quality on what tweets were being shown in the search results, how the autocomplete interface also needs work, and their promise to do better in the near future. Here are the tweets from Danny Sullivan on this:
Google search & tweets about the Texas shooting