[LINK] ALRC Discussion Paper re Classification System

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Fri Sep 30 16:04:26 AEST 2011

Roger notes,

> ALRC Discussion Paper: (snip) .. The proposed new framework
> envisages: a greater role for industry in classifying content ..

I guess sort of related: should (does?) Google 'classify or edit' news? 

Should Google Tweak the News We Consume?

By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER September 29, 2011

Should Google play an editorial role in presenting readers with news? 

That question was a matter of debate at Zeitgeist, a Google conference 
this week in Paradise Valley, Ariz., where Larry Page, Google’s co-
founder and chief executive, said that Google had a responsibility to 
improve media. 

The question came up when Ted Koppel, the longtime broadcast journalist, 
complained that too much news was drivel, as reporters cover the Casey 
Anthony trial instead of life-and-death issues in Africa. People are 
being fed the news they want instead of the news they need because that 
makes news organizations money, he said. 

Nicholas Thompson, a senior editor at The New Yorker, then asked Mr. 
Koppel if Google should tweak its algorithm to deliver people the news 
they need instead of entertainment-as-news. 

“That wouldn’t be a bad idea,” Mr. Koppel said. 

To be clear, Google has said many times that its algorithm presents users 
with the most relevant search results and does not exercise editorial 
control, so the question is likely to remain no more than a matter of 
debate. It reiterated that this week, after Rick Santorum said he thought 
Google should remove a dirty joke that showed up in searches for his last 

Still, Mr. Page said that Google could do a better job of getting people 
to focus on certain issues, though he did not address Mr. Koppel’s 
statement directly. 

“I see this as our responsibility to some extent, trying to improve 
media,” Mr. Page said. “If you ask anyone about how that information’s 
going to be propagated, what you’re going to focus on, I think it could 
work a lot better than it does now.” 

“We as an Internet community, we have a responsibility to make those 
things work a lot better and get people focused on what are the real 
issues, what should you be thinking about,” he said. “And I think we as a 
whole are not doing a good job of that at all.” 

Google has taken small steps toward editing search results for content. 
In February, for example, it changed its algorithm to weed out Web sites 
that it thinks have subpar articles and videos, like content farms, a 
move that affected 12 percent of search queries. 


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