Google adds tool to flag 'offensive' search results

NEW YORK (AP) - Google is now directing its review teams to flag content that might come across as upsetting or offensive in search results.

The review teams - comprised of contractors known as "quality raters" - already comb through websites and other content to flag questionable items such as pornography. Google added a new category, "upsetting-offensive," in its guidelines for quality raters. For example, content with "racial slurs or extremely offensive terminology" could now get flagged as such.

While flagging something doesn't directly affect the search results themselves, it's used to tweak the company's software so that better content ranks higher.

Google declined to comment on the changes, which were reported in the blog Search Engine Land and elsewhere.

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