Google says it is making changes to its autocomplete feature ahead of the November presidential election.
Autocomplete suggests possible search terms based on what a user starts typing. In a blog post, Google said it was removing suggestions that could be viewed as being for or against a particular candidate or party.
The search engine also is blocking suggestions that could be viewed as claims about “the integrity or legitimacy of electoral processes.”
“What this means in practice is that predictions like ‘you can vote by phone’ as well as ‘you can’t vote by phone,’ or a prediction that says ‘donate to’ any party or candidate, should not appear in Autocomplete,” Google wrote on Thursday. “Whether or not a prediction appears, you can still search for whatever you’d like and find results.”
During an online press event, the company’s senior director of global policy and standards acknowledged that some otherwise benign search predictions might get blocked by the policy. But David Graff told reporters that Google is practicing extra caution to keep “bad information” from appearing by way of a suggested search.
“We want to be very careful about the type of information that we highlight in the search feature given its prominence. Given the concern around elections and elections information, we want to be particularly conservative here,” Graff said.
Google and social media counterparts Twitter and Facebook have been under increasing pressure to stop the spread of…