In order to improve the quality of its search results, Google has been working with review teams to designate or flag content as upsetting or offensive.
With this change, content that includes racial, caste-based or gender offensive comments would now get flagged under a new category called ‘upsetting-offensive’. This will help in preventing the dissemination of such content that promotes hatred or violence against a specific group of people based on their gender, caste or other criteria.
While flagging something won’t directly affect the search results themselves, it is used to enhance the company’s software so that better content receives a higher ranking. This approach might, for example, lead to pushing down the content which is inaccurate or has other questionable attributes.
The review teams working on this project, known as “quality raters”, have already scanned through websites and other content to flag questionable items such as pornography. Google has added “upsetting-offensive” in its latest guidelines laid out for the quality raters.
The 160 pages worth of guidelines provide a fascinating look at how Google ranks the quality of its search results. For instance, it gives examples of “high-quality” pages, such as the home page of a newspaper that has “won seven Pulitzer Prize awards,” and “low-quality” pages, such as an article that includes “many grammar and punctuation errors.”
The new “upsetting-offensive” flag does the job of instructing the quality raters to “flag to all web results that contain upsetting or offensive content from the perspective of users in your locale, even if the result satisfies the user intent.”