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Harvard Criticizes Google’s Adult Content Filter

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Google’s SafeSearch porn filter was found to exclude non-porn sites such as the American Library Association, in a recent test conducted by the Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society.

Google admits the porn filter isn’t perfect but says the test wasn’t perfect, either. The porn filter, when engaged, automatically excludes any sites Google only knows about through link analysis, rather than by actually visiting the site.

For example, if a site has banned Google and other search engines from spidering it, Google might still return a link because it sees links to that site on other pages. However, since it hasn’t actually crawled the site itself, Google excludes the site when SafeSearch is switched on, because it doesn’t know if porn content might be present or not. More discussion of this from Google, as well as comments on the report from search engine marketers, can be found in a recent WebmasterWorld.com thread on the issue.

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Search Engine Watch provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines. The site was created by Danny Sullivan, an Internet consultant and journalist who continues to maintain the site for internet.com. He is assisted by associate editor Chris Sherman.

Harvard Criticizes Google’s Adult Content Filter
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About SearchEngineWatch.com
Search Engine Watch provides tips and information about searching the web, analysis of the search engine industry and help to site owners trying to improve their ability to be found in search engines. The site was created by Danny Sullivan, an Internet consultant and journalist who continues to maintain the site for internet.com. He is assisted by associate editor Chris Sherman. WebProNews Writer


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