Bing Top Search Results Filled With Disinformation, Report Finds

Advertisers haven't heard too much about misinformation on Bing. The criticism has mostly been directed toward Google and Facebook, but a report from the Stanford Cyber Policy Center released this week found that Bing’s search engine results are filled with bad information much more often than Google’s.

Bing returns disinformation and misinformation at “a significantly higher rate than Google does,” according to a Stanford study conducted by graduate students Alex Zaheer and Postdoctoral Scholar Daniel Bush.  

Across the top 50 results for 12 separate queries -- a total of 600 results -- Bing returned at least 125 sources of disinformation and misinformation, while Google returned 13, according to the report, titled Bing’s Top Search Results Contain an Alarming Amount of Disinformation.

Known purveyors of disinformation show up more frequently in Bing’s results than in Google’s, according to the report. When these sites serve up results in Google and Bing, they are returned higher in the latter, sometimes appearing on Page One. 

The same is true for Bing’s treatment of health misinformation, according to the study. For example, in response to queries for vaccines and autism, Bing returns six anti-vax sites in its top 50 results. Google, in contrast, shows none.

While it’s not clear whether location or personalization influence what is served in these instances, it’s unfortunate that the Stanford research provides multiple examples. Another shows Bing serves Russian propaganda at a much higher rate than Google. RT and Sputnik, the state-sponsored propaganda sites seem to rank higher by Bing than by Google, according to the findings.

The queries serve up in Bing’s top results for words related to known Russian disinformation campaigns about eight times across the top 50 results for four separate queries with 200 results, compared with one time for Google.

Earlier this week, Google touted that its fact-check engine appears more than 11 million times daily in search results globally and in Google News across Brazil, France, India, U.K. and U.S. That’s about 4 billion impressions yearly.

Google has made this library of more than 40,000 fact checks publicly available for anyone to consult with and look through.

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