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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

I’m generally very relaxed about Google and it’s projects, even when they could potentially open up web surfing to their prying eyes. But their plan to rate news stories by accuracy has me feeling uncomfortable, because it begs the inevitable question: Whose accuracy?

Taking a typical example: Hutton. Newspapers still widely report that the Government sexed up the September dossier, and yet no inquiry has yet found that to be the case. So are the news stories inaccurate? Not in my opinion, because I agree with them. But those who disagree would argue that they were indeed inaccurate.

Obviously, all news sources are editorialised, but Google seems to have tried to be as balanced as possible, by using algorithms to sort through the news, and present lots of different angles from lots of different sources. But rating these sources by accuracy will doubtlessly make it far more editorialised, and it’s important that users are made aware of this, and get to know what the editorial line is. Otherwise, this could lead to people thinking they’re getting impartial news when in fact they’re receiving anything but.

Fox, anyone?

This 630th post was filed under: News and Comment.

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