Google was fooled by a hoax announcing 'Breaking Bad' season 6

“Breaking Bad” is done and not coming back. But that didn’t stop Google from mistakenly picking up a hoax touting a new season of the AMC drama and promoting it as news.

A false story from the site pretends to offer details about “Breaking Bad” creator Vince Gilligan’s return to the show following season five and the death of Walter White. As Re/code reported yesterday, that story became the top hit in Google News for searches of “breaking bad season 6,” and was even credited to NBC. (As of this writing, that’s no longer true. We’ve reached out to Google for comment.)

The slip may be due to a change in Google’s algorithm. A “very large fraction” of total Google searches are now being handled by an artificial intelligence system known as RankBrain. The system learns from users’ searches and is supposed to improve results. But Google clearly missed the red flags in the “Breaking Bad” hoax.

The fake article also fooled a number of people on Twitter, where the hunger for more “Breaking Bad” is deep. For now at least, fans will still have to settle for that other Vince Gilligan show, “Better Call Saul,” instead.

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