Marketing 3 min read

Massive Amount of Disinformation on Bing Search Results Revealed

SergioVas / Shutterstock.com

SergioVas / Shutterstock.com

A new study has revealed an alarming amount of disinformation shown in Bing search results, majority of which direct users to conspiracy-related content.

A recent report suggests that Bing search results contain an alarming amount of disinformation.

Bing’s popularity in the United States is only dwarfed by Google‘s. According to Microsoft, the search engine boasts about 33 percent of the market share and serves up to five billion searches per month.

Despite its popularity, the Microsoft-owned search engine has endured several criticisms.

In the past, users have criticized Bing for its somewhat irregular results and hands-off approach to sensitive topics such as suicide. Researchers have even published studies on how the search engine handles abusive content.

However, no broad studies have explored the prevalence of disinformation and misinformation on Bing search results until now.

In a recent Stanford study, researchers Daniel Bush and Alex Zaheer pointed out:

“When we say Bing shows its users a lot of disinformation, we mean specifically that it shows a lot more disinformation than Google.”

So, how did the researchers reach this conclusion?

Analyzing Bing Search Results for Disinformation and Misinformation

For their study, the researchers programmatically ran 13 queries on Bing and Google. Then, they compared the top 50 results for each query across the two search engines.

After analyzing 50 results for 12 different queries, the researchers noted that Bing returned 125 sources of disinformation and misinformation. Google, on the other hand, yielded only 13.

The study revealed that the Microsoft-owned search engine directs users to conspiracy-related content. What’s more, seemingly neutral keywords could deliver such misleading results.

For example, “If you search for fluoride, you get content accusing the U.S. government of poisoning its population,” says the researchers.

In addition to showing users Russian propaganda at a much higher rate than Google, Bing also places essay sites on top 50 result page. These are websites where students post or sell papers.

According to the researchers, essay sites are unreliable and provide inaccurate information. However, they seem to have gamed Bing’s algorithm to earn the top spots.

Meanwhile, the report suggests that Google doesn’t direct users to student essay sites.

Finally, the Stanford team noted that specific queries on Bing could deliver “gratuitous white-supremacist content.”

For example, users searching for George Soros and “Who was behind 9/11” on the search engine will get content from Judas Watch. It’s a site that claims to document “anti-White traitors, subversives, and highlight Jewish influence.”

Search engines play a significant role in how we access information and understand the world around us. Unfortunately, tricksters now use this medium to spread misinformation and false stories.

As such, it becomes essential for search engines to re-evaluate how they rank information sources to curb the spread of fake news

Read More: Facebook Downgrades All Content Promoting Dubious Health Claims

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EDGY is an SEO incubator, forecaster, and support center for deep learning, technological advancement, and enterprise-level end-to-end search programs.

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