Google Discover, which is arguably a key way for people to find stories to read on Android, is having a major issue with obvious, barely-masked plagiarism in Web stories.
Google Discover is prominently placed on mobile devices today, appearing on the Google app, Chrome’s New Tab page, the Google.com homepage, and the far-left home page of Pixel phones. As such, it can serve as a gateway to content on the Internet, including news articles, blog posts, Reddit submissions, YouTube videos/shorts, and more recently “web stories”.
First introduced to Google Discover in October 2020, Web Stories is a way for web creators to craft short form, visual-heavy narratives in the format of Stories in Snapchat and Instagram. Over the past two years, Google has made it easy for anyone to create their own web stories, most notably through WordPress integration.
Inevitably, the ease of use and Web Stories’ prime placement in Discover has led some bad actors to abuse the system. It is not uncommon on the Internet in general that some people do something that others have done and claim it as their own, although these examples are usually caught by Google’s algorithms and removed from the first pages of search results. is removed.
However, these plagiarism protections, from an outside perspective, do not appear to apply to the web stories currently appearing in Google Discover. In recent weeks, we’ve seen several strong examples of Web Stories in Discover Feed being outright copies of articles published by outlets, including 9to5google, Android PoliceAnd CNBC, In fact, in our testing, nearly every refresh of the Discover feed included one or more plagiarized web stories.
In the screenshot below, we see three examples of this problem in action. The story in the first screenshot published by “Crazy” uses the title, graphics and text from our Bandwidth column. Another example from crazy pulls its contents CNBC,
In the second screenshot, there are two side-by-side examples of plagiarism web stories. The first from “Tech Big News”, uses a title from techcrunch And it contains nothing more than links to articles of plagiarism. Next, the web story of “Geet Van” takes the title of a Android Police text and appends it to the text of a post 91mobiles,
So what can be done to prevent this issue? In a statement, Google has paid publishers money, pointing to the company’s current process for legal removal. According to the company, this is the primary solution for Google Search, Discover and Web Stories.
Web stories are meant to reflect original works, and we encourage rights holders to report copyright infringement. If we are notified of content that infringes someone else’s copyright, we take appropriate action.
— Google spokesperson
In addition, Google cited the complexities of copyright licensing and potential examples of fair use that makes it difficult to automatically enforce against copyright infringement. In addition, we’ve been told that the company’s page ranking system downplays spam or plagiarism content throughout Search and Discover, although this does not prevent stories from appearing in the Web Stories carousel.
This position is solely responsible for detecting and reporting instances of plagiarism of their content to publishers. The problem is that once the previous site has been taken down there is no way to prevent a new malicious site from being created, leaving web creators to play a perpetual game of whack-a-mole.
It’s clear that Google is responsible for this issue, as the company’s algorithms decide what appears or doesn’t in each individual’s Discover feed. Web Stories should be given the same checks for apparent plagiarism that Google search results receive. It’s just ridiculous that it wasn’t made into a format/product from day one, and that Google has shown no intention of addressing the root of the problem.
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