When Google decides what news you read

24 February 2021 — USRTK

As tech giants wrestle over content moderation, “their decisions also run the risk of stifling routine reporting,” reports Parker Higgins for Freedom of the Press Foundation. “When content is removed or an algorithm tweaked behind closed doors, news organizations and journalists are often left without any sort of transparency into the process or a clear path to appeals.”

We are learning about this situation the hard way here at USRTK, as Higgins reports in When algorithms come for journalists.

“U.S. Right to Know, a non-profit newsroom that engages in investigative journalism on public health issues, has provided Freedom of the Press Foundation with evidence of a sudden and dramatic drop-off in incoming traffic from Google search results after the search engine released a ‘core update’ to its ranking algorithm,” Higgins wrote.

“Other outlets have had their entire ability to reach an audience jeopardized,” the foundation explains in a tweet. “The non-profit newsroom @USRighttoKnowsaw their search traffic drop precipitously, and can’t get answers as to why.”

Please share this important story and invite your friends to sign up for our newsletter for direct access to our public health reporting.

Lessons from battles to expose Monsanto and DuPont. In this press briefing for the Foreign Press Association, hear our colleague Carey Gillam and Robert Billott, the attorney whose story was socialfeatured in the movie Dark Waters, share how they wrestled with companies that are now ordered to pay billions in costs and damages, the efforts that were made to discredit them, and lessons for journalists.

More public health reporting of this week:

  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals may be the problem behind falling sperm counts and declining egg quality — New York Times
  • Diets high in fructose could cause immune system damage, study suggests – Science Daily
  • Unhealthy foods may also be addictive — New York Times
  • The bitter truth of USDA’s sugar guidelines — MedPage Today
  • Mexico pressing ahead with GMO corn, glyphosate bans — Reuters
  • Common agricultural pesticide may be putting hummingbirds at risk — University of Toronto

Help us keep reporting on crucial public health issues by donating here to support our work.

For our right to know,
Carey, Gary, Sai, Stacy

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