Sunday, November 3, 2019

“'Data voids' on the web have opened a door to manipulators and other disinformation pushers"

Joshua Benton at Nieman Lab on the challenge of dealing with SEO manipulators:

In the report, released by Data &Society, Golebiewski and boyd identify five types of data voids ripe for abuse:

Breaking News: The production of problematic content optimized to terms that are suddenly spiking due to a breaking news situation; these voids will eventually be filled by legitimate news content, but are abused before such content exists.

Strategic New Terms: Manipulators create new terms and build a strategically optimized information ecosystem around them before amplifying those terms into the mainstream, often through news media, in order to introduce newcomers to problematic content and frames.

Outdated Terms: When terms go out of date, content creators stop producing content associated with these terms long before searchers stop seeking out content. This creates an opening for manipulators to produce content that exploits search engines’ dependence on freshness.

Fragmented Concepts: By breaking connections between related ideas and creating distinct clusters of information that refer to different political frames, manipulators can segment searchers into different information worlds.

Problematic Queries: Search results for disturbing or fraught terms that have historically returned problematic results continue to do so unless high quality content is introduced to contextualize or outrank such problematic content.