BERT to Match Stories with Fact Checks

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BERT to Match Stories with Fact Checks

By piranha

11th September 2020

A recent announcement from Google, followed by a quick summary outlined a number of changes that they have made to Google Search in the last year or so. The announcement outlined a number of changes to Google Search, Google News, autocomplete, and fact checking through BERT and language processing.

BERT is in fact an acronym that stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers and upon its release back in 2019, it was said that BERT will impact 1 in 10 of all search queries and it was the biggest change in Search since Google released RankBrain back in 2015.

In short, it is a technique for natural language processing pre-training developed by Google that can help computers to understand language a bit better and more like humans do. At a high level, Google is aiming to provide search results that are as relevant as possible and as reliable as possible.

This is with people’s health in mind, given we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, as well as the upcoming US election. Google will obviously want their search results to be as reliable as possible, but the announcement was more around the ongoing changes that have happened over a number of years as opposed to a new feature launching.

What’s Changed?

Here is a list of some of the recent tweaks and changes that the company has highlighted from the last 12 months:

  • Google BERT being used in full coverage news stories to better match fact checks with stories
  • Google is now able to detect breaking news queries in a few minutes versus 40+ minutes
  • Google works closer with Wikipedia to detect and remove vandalism that Google may use in knowledge panels
  • Fact check labels have been shown over 4 billion times so far in 2020
  • Auto-complete policy change around elections, specifically being more conservative and showing less vs. more in this area

The fact check labels will be hugely helpful to searchers in these current times, especially with the number of incorrect things that are being written about and shared online regarding COVID-19, 5G technology and everything else in between. You would imagine they will go a long way toward helping stop the spread of “fake news” on the internet.

Speaking about the update, Vice President of Google Search, Pandu Nayak, said:

“we also just launched an update using our ​BERT language understanding models​ to improve the matching between news stories and available fact checks. These systems can better understand whether a fact check claim is related to the central topic of a story, and surface those fact checks more prominently in Full Coverage — a News feature that provides a complete picture of how a story is reported from a variety of sources.

“With just a tap, Full Coverage lets you see top headlines from different sources, videos, local news reports, FAQs, social commentary, and a timeline for stories that have played out over time.”

To read more about the recent changes to try and improve the relevance and reliability of Google Search, visit this link.

If you would like to learn more about how our in-house marketing team here at Piranha Digital can help your website perform in the search engines, give our team a call today on 01772 888331 or send your query through to and get the ball rolling. We’d love to hear from you.

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