Last week, the top result of a Google search for "did the Holocaust happen" would be an article from the white supremacist group Stormfront that denies the Holocaust ever happened.
After initially opting not to remove the article from its search results, Google changed its mind Monday, Digital Trends reports. The first result for that same question now is a news story about Google changing its algorithm. Meanwhile, Holocaust-denying sites appear to have been removed altogether from Google results.
An important part of our values as a company is that we don't edit the search results.
A decade ago, Google was much less active in its search result manipulation. Founder Sergey Brin said in a 2008 interview that he thought it was more important that its search results were unbiased.
The almighty algorithm still rules
Google insisted its algorithm still determines search results. The recent fix is the result of altering the algorithm to consider Holocaust-denial sites as "non-authoritative," a spokesperson told Digital Trends.
In other words, rather than outright deleting Stormfront and similar web sites from its search results, Google changed its rules so Stormfront couldn't game the system for the top spot.
Google has been under fire lately for similar controversial search results, tied to the spread of fake news. The Guardian found hate groups dominated results for questions like "are Jews evil," "are women evil," and "are Muslims bad."
We'll continue to change our algorithms over time in order to tackle these challenges.
The mathematical formula is still not perfect -- searching "are Muslims evil" still results in lots of Islamophobic sites. And searching "are black people inferior" leads to a racist article in the top slot.