Google, Online Platforms Told by EU to Explain Search Rankings

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Internet firms such as Google, Amazon.com Inc. and travel websites should explain how they rank search results on their platforms, according to European Union guidelines published Monday that could help businesses to increase their online visibility.

The guidelines “set the standard for algorithmic ranking transparency,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s digital chief, said in a statement on the European Commission website.

Online platforms should identify what factors their algorithms use when they decide to prioritize some results and declare when a prominent listing is paid for, according to the guidelines.

The announcement comes as EU regulators are preparing new legislation to rein in big tech. Google’s prominent placement of its own search ads was targeted by a 2017 antitrust fine from the EU that examined complaints over how the company may have unfairly demoted results from rivals.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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