03:37 GMT03 March 2021
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    A recent study published in the Columbia Journalism Review has revealed that Google's algorithm gives most of its Top Stories results to articles from just 20 outlets.

    The study made by researchers from Northwestern University revealed that Democrat-leaning CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post alone accounting for a whopping 23 percent of article impressions in Google. Sputnik spoke to Fong Choong Fook, the CEO of the LGMS Cyber Security firm in Malaysia for more on the story.

    Sputnik: Google has always denied any political bias and insists that its Top Stories are chosen by an algorithm that detects popularity. How true is this?

    Fong Choong Fook: Even though a recent study has shown that Google's Top Stories section is bias and favour against left-wing news sources, but unless Google voluntarily disclose their aggregation algorithm, this shall always subject to debate or speculation.

    Sputnik: And how likely is it that Google would disclose its aggregation algorithm?

    Fong Choong Fook: It's near to Impossible, even until today, Google is constantly updating their search algorithm. It's their trade secret and I seriously doubt that they will ever disclose, even under the pressure on congress hearing. They won't budge an inch.

    Sputnik: From a technical point of view, how is such selectiveness in Google’s Top Stories feasible? What algorithm should be run for it to work that way?

    Fong Choong Fook: Technically, the selection of news and stories can be easily controlled using algorithm that is written to pick and choose what the publisher (in this case — Google) want. The selection algorithm can be programmed to observe parameters that based on targeted phrases, sentences, keywords, names, or, even the identity of the interviewee.

    Sputnik: Is it possible to regulate the work of search services at the legislative level?

    Fong Choong Fook: We are in the middle of information evolutions, we human have no short of news sources, some are even outside of our conventional sources: social media, instant messengers, blogs, online streaming platforms etc. We are now also living in the era of information overflow. It a confusing time for all of us. Fake and controlled news are emerging together with facts. Ultimately it is still up to us to filter through what is real and what is not. My advise to fellow human being is that we shall never depend on single form of new source, instead, we shall be sceptical, be curious and do not blindly believe everything that is fed to our 5 senses. Always validate via multiple sources.

    Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Fong Choong Fook and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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