Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Fake News: Separating Truth From Fiction: 7. Google Limitations, Filter Bubbles and Algorithmic Bias

Google's Weaknesses

Google is a powerful search tool, but it also has several limitations that researchers should consider.  It can be useful in identifying fake news, but it can also deliver false and misleading sites in its search results.

1.  Google PageRank Algorithm -  Part of Google's algorithm ranks pages by the number of other pages that link to it and the importance of those pages.  This can be manipulated by certain websites so that they appear high on Google's list of results.  These sites are sometimes false, misleading, extremely biased or even hateful.

2.  Filter Bubbles -  Algorithms in search engines use our previous searches and personal information to deliver individualized results.  According to Eli Pariser, author of the book The Filter Bubble, this prevents some types of information from ever being in our results list as more links are delivered that confirm our interests and beliefs.  Check out the Loyola Marymount Library's excellent guide on filter bubbles

3. No Editorial Process- Google, like most search engines, does not evaluate web sites for accuracy or quality.  The top results on a Google search are not based on the quality or accuracy of the information but on Google's algorithm.  PageRank remains an important part of that algorithm.

Why We Can't Rely On Google To Evaluate Sources

Online Filter Bubbles

Filter Bubble Resources

Algorithmic Bias Resources

How Fake News Does Real Harm

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.