Google is cracking down on websites that peddle online slander.
Google said Thursday that it’s changing the algorithms that power its iconic search engine, in an attempt to crack down on websites that publish unverified and slanderous posts about people. It’s a rare move for a company that’s historically taken a hands-off approach to managing its search results.
The changes take aim at an industry of online extortion, in which websites post unproven claims calling people cheaters, predators and pedophiles. The posts rank high in Google’s search results when people query the victim’s name. Then the websites charge thousands of dollars to remove the damning claims.
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The New York Times earlier reported the changes, which were prompted by Times articles that called attention to extortion schemes that were aided by Google’s algorithms.
Google has also created a list of “known victims”…