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Google Pressured to Recognize Anti-Fracking as Fake News
Ohio Ag Connection - 05/16/2017

Following Google's recent announcement that the company is making changes to its search engine algorithm to combat "the spread of blatantly misleading, low quality, offensive or downright false information," FrackFeed penned an open letter to Google asking the company to flag the misleading content on anti-fracking websites as fake news. FrackFeed is a project of Texans for Natural Gas, a pro-drilling advocacy group.

"We believe many of the most prominent anti-fracking websites have content that is misleading, false, or offensive -- if not all three," the group wrote. "As a result, we urge you to consider purging or demoting these websites from your algorithm, which in turn will encourage a more honest public discussion about hydraulic fracturing, and oil and natural gas development in general."

Now, in addition to the open letter, FrackFeed has launched a nationwide petition asking people across the country to encourage Google to appropriately label this type of inaccurate and misleading information as fake news.

The letter provides several examples of activist groups spreading false information about fracking, particularly as it relates to allegations over water contamination:

- Sierra Club declares on its website: "Fracking has contaminated the drinking water of hundreds of thousands of Americans." There is no evidence to support this claim.

- Earthworks, which has compared fracking to sexual assault, says of hydraulic fracturing: "Not only does the injection of these chemicals pose a short-term threat to drinking water quality, it is quite possible that there could be long-term negative consequences for USDWs [Underground Sources of Drinking Water] from these fracturing fluids."

- Food & Water Watch claims widespread water contamination is one of many reasons why fracking is "simply too unsafe to pursue" and that "a ban is the only solution."

- Environment America claims there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cases of fracking contaminating groundwater -- and even attempts to redefine what fracking is.

These claims have been repeatedly refuted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and scientific experts in peer-reviewed studies. For example, the EPA conducted an extensive, multi-year investigation intro fracking and drinking water and found no evidence of widespread water contamination. The U.S. Government Accountability Office met with regulatory officials in eight of the largest oil and natural gas producing states and concluded "the hydraulic fracturing process has not been identified as a cause of groundwater contamination within their states."

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