Tag Archives: content selection algorithms

Concern over search algorithms promoting ‘content farm’ news

The ability of search engine algorithms to measure the relevance and quality of content has come under scrutiny recently, following criticisms that Google is placing so called ‘content farm’ articles at the top of news searches.

Emma Heald writes on the EditorsWebLog that where SEO content directly competes with news content there is “cause for concern”, both for news publishers and the wider issue of public knowledge.

But the challenge of ensuring online news search results are based on relevant and ‘quality’ sources should be one taken up by the news aggregators, rather than content farms, which have a place in the online arena, she adds.

Evidently, content farms cannot and should not be stopped from producing large volumes of content and it arguably makes a lot of sense to provide internet users with articles on topics which they are searching for. And not all the content is bad: some is written by experienced, conscientious journalists. Traditional news organisations should focus on improving their own SEO (though not at the expense of the content) and if it is to retain its position as a top news aggregator, maybe Google’s algorithm should become more discerning?

Innovations in Journalism – Tiinker

We give developers the opportunity to tell us journalists why we should sit up and pay attention to the sites and devices they are working on. Today it’s your news selected and filtered with artificial intelligence from Tiinker.

Image of Tiinker website

1) Who are you and what’s it all about?
Hi I’m Alex North. Tiinker has been developed by Deep Grey Labs. We’re a young start-up in Sydney, Australia, focussed on bringing artificial intelligence and machine learning technology out of academia and into products and services people can use.

There’s masses of information published online every day – way too much for any individual to track. Tiinker lifts some of the burden by filtering and exploring to find content that’s interesting to you as an individual, hiding irrelevant or uninteresting stories.

2) Why would this be useful to a journalist?
Tiinker is great for keeping up with news in one or a number of interest areas. It gathers stories from thousands of news sources and picks out the interesting ones based on which articles you have previously found interesting.

Although you could visit all the sources individually, each one probably has only a few stories of real interest. Over time, Tiinker will learn to pick these out for you.

3) Is this it, or is there more to come?
Tiinker has much more to come. We’re working now on some features to help you share stories you’ve found on Tiinker with friends and colleagues, and continually improving the content selection algorithms.

4) Why are you doing this?
From a broad point of view, we want to help apply the amazing research that goes on at our universities into things people can actually use. More narrowly, tiinker addresses the growing problem of information overload – something which affects us all in some way and will continue to do so unless we bring computing to bear on the problem.

5) What does it cost to use it?
Nothing, it’s free.

6) How will you make it pay?
Eventually with targeted advertising running on the site, but right now it’s ad-free as well.