To Google, Apple and Facebook - please stop promoting fake red top tabloid news

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The flood of fake news that fills Google News these days is incredible. Try a news search for "Planet X".  Astronomers are searching for extra planets in our solar system way beyond Neptune. However you won't find much about that in Google News. Instead, you get pages and pages of results about a mythical hoax planet called "Nibiru" which false prophets claim will hit or fly past Earth, always in the next week / month / year. They claim it will cause untold devastation.   

The top entries are often to the Daily Express, a "red top tabloid" that often publishes stories that are either invented or based on "sources" as slender as Facebook posts by undisclosed sources or YouTube videos. These are often very scary stories with clickbait titles warning of planets due to fly past Earth or collide with it and similar bizarre and impossible allegedly astronomical scenarios.

This really matters, because nowadays children don't read the papers - they check Google News on their mobile devices. Sometimes they do this many times a day. There is nothing to indicate that this is fake news, and to them it is all just "news". 

This gets really serious at times. When the sensationalist press ran news stories saying the world would end on 23rd September 2017, then as someone who writes about such issues, I got floods of messages from scared children who thought the world was about to end.

I'm also admin of Doomsday Debunked and we got floods of posts there too. They reported that they couldn't eat, couldn't sleep, were  vomiting at times, had panic attacks, and a couple were in hospital for the effects of their fear on their bodies. Often  they are under medication for anxiety and receiving therapy. Many of them also said they were suicidal.

They often say they had ordinary happy lives before they read these stories. Some of them are very young. You have to be 13 to get a Facebook account and we get scared children aged 13 and 14 there. Parents report younger children who are scared and David Morrison who fronted "Ask an Astrobiologist" for many years says he was contacted by scared and suicidal children who self identified as age 11 upwards during the scare in 2012.

It's entirely because of Google News and related sites like Apple News and Facebook trending - nearly all of them say they found the stories that way. For more about this see my: Floods Of Fake Astronomy Fill Google News - Children As Young As 14 & Younger Get Scared, Sick & Suicidal

Most of the sensationalist Doomsday news is published in the UK but through google news it reaches a global audience. In a recent poll in our Doomsday Debunked group,  half were from the US, a quarter from the UK and a quarter from other countries world wide (many of them read the news through Google translate).

So, here is the actual petition. Do sign and share if you agree:


Petition to Google - you have a huge responsibility for the education of our children. Please:

  • Give us an option to filter out fake and sensationalist news from Google News - such as the stories by the Daily Express
  • Label these sources as sensationalist.

Or in some way or other, do something about this flood of fake news that is misleading so many people. Thanks!


The idea is to send it to Google if we get lots of signatures. I'm not sure who to send it to - do say if you have suggestions. Meanwhile, signing it and sharing helps to raise awareness of the issue.

Meanwhile, I used Google's own custom search engine option to create this new search page:

Google News Without The Nonsense.

Try using it to search for "Planet X" and see the difference! This also shows how easy it would be for Google to fix this.

For those of you who get scared by these stories, you may find our group on Facebook helpful, it's here: Doomsday Debunked and see also the list of articles in the Debunking Doomsday blog to date.

See also my other petitions:

Also please share this page with anyone else who may be interested. Thanks!