Saturday, July 2, 2022

Lawmakers urge Google to fix abortion searches suggesting ‘fake clinics’

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US lawmakers are questioning Google over how the company’s search engine shows users in some states false results about abortion services, turning them into “fake clinics” that don’t provide procedures and allowing people to terminate pregnancies. stop doing it.

In a letter sent Friday to Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, 20 Democratic members of Congress and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) urged the company to quickly fix the search accuracy issue, saying it Given that it comes as US. Supreme Court ruling coming later this month could end abortion rights Roe vs. Wade,

What if Roe v. Wade were reversed

Lawmakers cited a recent report that found “trigger laws” in states with abortion, led users of 11 percent of Google search results for abortion services to nonmedical facilities that don’t provide abortions; The result for Google Maps queries was 37 percent. The report by the US-based non-profit Center for Countering Digital Hate also found that nearly 28 percent of Google ads that displayed at the top of related search-results pages were for anti-abortion clinics.

“Directing women to fake clinics that traffic with misinformation and do not provide comprehensive health services is dangerous to women’s health and undermines the integrity of Google’s search results,” Democratic The lawmakers wrote in the letter, which was led by Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.) and Rep. Alyssa Slotkin (Mr.).

When users searched for “abortion clinic” or similar terms, lawmakers asked Google to limit the appearance of fake abortion clinic results, or to add a more prominent disclaimer on whether any facility abortion services provides; Both MPs and the CCDH say that the current disclaimers are too short and easily missed.

The request from members of Congress comes after Google promised in 2014 to remove ads from some “crisis pregnancy centers” that violated the company’s policy against deceptive advertising.

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In a statement on Saturday, a Google spokesperson said it continually works to improve its search results to best serve users and added that “any organization that seeks information about abortion services on Google People wishing to advertise must be certified and must show disclosure in the advertisement to clearly state whether they offer abortion or not.”

The reproductive rights landscape in the United States is expected to change dramatically in response to the Supreme Court ruling, which could arrive as early as Monday. In addition to the 13 states that have already enacted “trigger laws” that effectively ban abortions immediately Roe deer has been reversed, with at least five others expected to follow suit.

What are ‘trigger’ laws, and in which states are they enforced?

Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have laws explicitly protecting abortion rights at the state level, according to Abortion Rights Support, a nonprofit research center based in New York and Washington. The rest of the states either have no specific laws or impose restrictions on the books.

Imran Ahmed, CEO of the Center for Countering Digital Hate, told The Washington Post that a draft Supreme Court opinion leaked in May showed a “large-scale global increase in fundraising activity and creativity among groups undermining fundamental reproductive rights.” But” growth is encouraged. He said similar themes of reproductive rights and abortion misinformation are emerging in Kenya, Latin America and the United Kingdom.

Ahmed said fighting misinformation through accurate search results is especially important given Google’s global reach. Google is the most popular search engine, with over 90 percent of the global market share, according to Statista, a German consumer data analysis company.

“When Google goes bad, it can have a huge impact on the whole word,” Ahmed said.

How Google’s search algorithm works is a tightly guarded trade secret, but the company says in a public-facing guide on its search engine that Google searches for webpages. Deems relevant to the user’s search query and then returns results that it believes are “of the highest quality and most relevant to the user.” Google said it uses “hundreds of factors”, including user location and language, to determine “relevance”.

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But Ahmed said the search algorithm can be easily played with as it tries to determine which webpages are relevant, including groups that form a network of linked pages.

Fake abortion clinics, often referred to as “crisis pregnancy centers” or “pregnancy resource centres”, do not provide self-styled abortions, although critics say they use a medical facility by offering pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, or sexually transmitted tests. Trying to make a costume. infection. The Journal of Ethics of the American Medical Association has argued that while “crisis pregnancy centers” are legal, they are unethical “by providing misleading information and causing delays and disparities in access to abortion.”

Instead, the sites of “crisis pregnancy centers” often dissuade patients from choosing abortions through misinformation. Among the false claims made by fake clinics cited in the CCDH report are that abortion will make a pregnant person infertile or that suicidal impulses are “normal” after an abortion.

Ahmed stressed that the relevant criticism of fake abortion clinics is not their ideology, but a deceptive strategy to induce people to behave as they wish.

“People have a right to have an opinion on abortion,” he said. “But this [their] The use of deceit is what makes it so deadly.”

With propaganda and misinformation having a direct impact on people’s personal health, Ahmed said it is important for major technology platforms to act responsibly and for policymakers to take them into account.

“This is yet another example of how hate and propaganda actors can weaponize digital platforms to cause harm to people in the real world,” he said.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Deskhttps://nationworldnews.com
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