Amid a growing clamour against fake content online, Google has announced it may take off from its news index the websites which conceal information about their ownership, primary purpose, country of origin or mislead users.
In a set of new guidelines, the technology behemoth said it aims to organise all the world’s news and make it accessible to readers, while providing the best possible experience for those seeking useful and timely news information.
“Do not misrepresent yourself or your purpose. Sites included in Google News must not misrepresent, misstate, or conceal information about their ownership or primary purpose, or engage in coordinated activity to mislead users.
“This includes, but isn’t limited to, sites that misrepresent or conceal their country of origin or are directed at users in another country under false premises,” the search engine said.
It stressed that original reporting and clear attribution were important factors for inclusion in the Google News index besides the use of datelines and bylines in content for websites publishing “news”.
“If your site publishes aggregated content, separate it from your original work, or restrict our access to aggregated articles via a robots.txt file,” it said.
Citing feedback from its users, Google said they value news sites with author biographies and clearly accessible contact information, such as email and physical addresses and phone numbers.
The guidelines also made it clear that “advertising and other paid promotional material” on news pages “cannot exceed your content”.
Google News may also remove sites participating in “other misleading practices not listed in these guidelines”, the Mountain View, California-headquartered company said.
“Failure to follow these guidelines may result in the removal of your article(s), or entire site, from Google News,” it added.