To see the problem try a google news search for Planet X - and see if you find anything there about the genuine astronomical search for planets beyond Neptune. It's filled with stories saying that the nonsense planet Nibiru is about to fly past Earth or hit us (what professor Brian Cox once called the imaginary bullshit planet Nibiru).
You often have to search quite a way to find genuine news amongst the nonsense. Now try to imagine what that search looks like to a young child aged 13 (say) who does not know that these stories are fake and sensationalist. Many get scared, sick, and even suicidal. For more background see my: Floods Of Fake Astronomy Fill Google News - Children As Young As 14&Younger Get Scared, Sick&Suicidal
Will Google ever do anything about this? I've no idea, but I've got a petition to them at the end of this article. Do sign it if you agree this is a major issue. Maybe we can get someone's attention to do something about it.
Meanwhile. I’ve found that you can use a custom google search to replicate Google News. The great thing is that you can then exclude sites from it using an exclusion list.
So, I have just used this to make a google news search page which leaves out all the nonsense, try it: Google News Without The Nonsense. I hope that some of these children may find it helpful, or indeed, anyone who wants to see Google News without all the nonsense.
You'll notice that I also did custom searches for top astronomy, space mission and science news.
SITE LIST FOR THE TOP SCIENCE NEWS
The sites used so far for the top astronomy, space flight and science news are:
My aim here is for quality rather than quantity, so there is no attempt to be comprehensive.
Sites are not included if:
- They have ever run sensationalist click bait titles that scare young children afraid of doomsday stories - it’s “one strike and you are out”
- They have popup or overlay ads or auto play ads that play sound as soon as the page loads
- They run speculative stories that may confuse people not used to how science works
Sites that do any of those things are not included, even if they are otherwise excellent. For instance space.com is excluded for frequent use of auto play ads with sound and overlay ads. Scientific American is excluded because of this story (sadly): Debunked: A Nearby Neutron Star Collision Could Cause Calamity on Earth. New Scientist is excluded because it often runs rather speculative stories - scientists enjoy them of course, I greatly enjoy reading New Scientists but it's not what I'm looking for here.
If you have any top quality sites to recommend, do say!
EXCLUDED SITES FOR NEWS WITHOUT THE NONSENSE
For the Google News Without The Nonsense., sites are excluded if
- They have a fake news story prophesying that the world will end. It is okay if the story debunks a false prophecy but not if it promotes it
- Use a click bait title that will lead an anxious reader to think the world will end even if it debunks it when you click through
- Fake astronomy or science news of any sort
- Run a story that an asteroid will hit Earth when there is no asteroid impact predicted in the Sentry tables.
It’s a case of “one strike and you are out”. The list of sites excluded is rather long, so I won't give it here. It includes the top UK sensationalist papers such as the Daily Express, Sun, Daily Star etc, but it has many more. For the list, see my Debunking Doomsday blog post: New: Google News Without All The Nonsense ...
Please comment on this post or message me if you have any suggestions for top quality science sites to add - or if you spot any fake / sensationalist news to exclude from the Google News Without The Nonsense. Thanks!
PETITION TO GOOGLE
I've also started a petition to Google, in the hope that they can be persuaded to do something about the nonsense in Google News.
Do sign and share my new petition if you agree:
If you are scared of Doomsday scenarios, see also the List of the articles in my Debunking Doomsday blog to date and you can try searching that page for a word like “Nibiru” or “Yellowstone” or whatever to find articles of interest.
Also if you want to help make a difference, you can sign and share these two petitions- and do have a look at the comments to get an idea of the scale of the problem. Click “Join Conversation” to see more of them.
- To Youtube: Halt Ads on Doomsday Videos
- To Journalists: Debunk Rather than Dramatize "Doomsday" Stories - The Vulnerable Get Suicidal
And if you need help - well message me of course and comment on any of these posts - and you can also join our Facebook group Doomsday Debunked.