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Google To I.D. Real Abortion Clinics So Women Won’t Be Tricked By Fakes

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Google has informed lawmakers that its searches, maps and ads will aim to accurately label abortion clinics so that they can easily be found — and so that ladies won’t be tricked by anti-abortion fakes.

The corporate is rolling out an update that can make it easier for people to seek out places that supply the services they’re looking for — with a commitment to accuracy, in line with Google.

Under the updated system, the corporate will add its own “provides abortions” label to places and ads for facilities where such services are literally available — in addition to a “may not provide abortions” label when Google has been unable to verify the procedure is obtainable, Google representative Mark Isakowitz said in a letter Thursday to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.).

More accurate information would help women more easily locate clinics, and would also help prevent them from searching for the procedure at facilities that seem like abortion clinics but actually use heavy-handed tactics to pressure people against abortions.

Google officials said the corporate will confirm that certain places provide abortions through usually calling them directly and collaborating with “authoritative” data sources.

“We now have extra layers of verification in place to assist us confirm that places labeled as ‘abortion clinics’ on Google Maps and Search offer abortions,” Isakowitz noted within the letter.

“We [also] provide a way for anyone to flag problematic reviews [and] inappropriate content,” he added. “People can even report misleading business information to Google … we take the danger of pretend business profiles seriously and perform various steps to combat them.”

The letter was in response to lawmakers who complained in a letter in June about misleading Google map and search results. They said that 37% of Google map results and 11% of search results for “abortion clinics near me” and “abortion pill” in states with abortion trigger bans were actually for anti-abortion facilities.

Google has also been under pressure from employees to handle the issue.

Warner on Thursday praised Google’s commitment to supply accurate results.

“I welcome the changes that Google has announced so that ladies searching for abortion services aren’t directed towards fake clinics that traffic in misinformation and don’t provide comprehensive health services,” he said on Twitter.

Importantly, this is not about silencing voices or restricting speech. It’s about returning search results that accurately address a user’s query and giving users information that’s relevant to their searches. I appreciate @Google taking these steps to enhance its services. 4/4

— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) August 25, 2022

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