You really can't believe everything you read on the internet.
Google on Monday acknowledged its algorithms screwed up and that it placed a fake news story about Donald Trump winning the popular vote in last week's election prominently in the search engine's widely-read news section.
"The goal of Search is to provide the most relevant and useful results for our users," a Google spokeswoman said. "We clearly didn't get it right, but we are continually working to improve our algorithms."
The fumble comes almost a week after the US presidential election, in which Trump, the Republican nominee, pulled off a stunning upset victory. In the aftermath, commenters have argued fake news circulating on social networks helped get him elected. Facebook so far has taken the brunt of the blame. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said last week that the notion fake news swayed the election is a "pretty crazy idea." He later admitted though, that the social network needs to "continue to work" on eliminating fake news and hoaxes.
If you Googled "final election results" this morning, you would have seen the headline in a top slot on Google News. The thing is, it's not true. The AP reports Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, won more votes overall, although she lost the electoral vote.
That's a problem because Google, for many people, is the internet. When you want to know a piece of info, or you're arguing with a friend over something, the first reflex is to Google it.
Google, though, reiterated that it always lists several stories, and not just one result. The company also doesn't remove search results, except if the result contains things like illegal content or malware.
"Google is an important source of news for people who tend to fall toward the middle of the ideological spectrum," Jesse Holcomb, associate director of research for the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. "It is a generally trusted source of news."
Well, not so much today.