Google Removes Autocomplete for Candidates and Voting

Ahead of the U.S. presidential election Google said that it will now remove any autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party and claims about voting or the electoral process, according to a CNN report. 

Google executives outlined these changes at an online press event Thursday, as well as in a blog post. Google’s autocomplete feature offers recommendations for queries once a user begins typing.

The tech company says that it will now remove any Autocomplete predictions that seem to endorse or oppose a candidate or a political party, or that make a claim about voting or the electoral process. That would mean eliminating predictions like “you can vote by phone,” “you can’t vote by phone” or anything suggesting that you donate to a party or candidate.

However, Google emphasized users will still be able to search for information around voting or candidates — you just won’t see those queries automatically.

The news comes as Facebook, Twitter and other tech giants are trying to to curb the spread of misinformation and avoid partisan bias ahead of the November election.

“We want to be very careful about the type of information that we highlight in the search feature given its prominence. Given the concern around elections and elections information, we want to be particularly conservative here,” said David Graff, Google’s senior director of global policy and standards.

Graff told reporters innocuous suggestions will probably be eliminated but the company wants to err on the side of caution. “We really want to prevent bad information … from surfacing in a feature like autocomplete,” he said.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Denis Chalet/AFP/Getty Images

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