Reuters reports that a little-noticed change in the Google News search process now allows company press releases to be included in its search results. Prior to the change, the company only allowed stories from approved media outlets to appear in the results.
According to Reuters, the change means that when users search Google News for a topic that may be embarrassing to a company, the press releases may appear in the results before news stories, misleading readers looking for a more disinterested take. In addition, companies can use search engine optimization strategies to increase the likelihood that their versions of a story will be seen first.
Clarification: Press releases that appear in the Google News search results will clearly be labeled as such.