Researcher spent six years investigating the role of what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, and found bias from Google towards conservatives.
As the internet becomes a more central part of modern day life, Big Tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have increasingly sought to become the gatekeepers of the internet and political discourse. Without any sort of democratic mandate, these companies have appointed themselves the arbiters of acceptable thought, discussion and searches online.
These companies’ pervasive command of the internet – and blatant desire to control not just how Americans interact with it, but people all over the world – is a direct threat to a free society. And arguably the worst offender is Google.
Google claims to value free expression and a free and open internet, but there is overwhelming evidence that the Big Tech giant wants the internet to be free and open only to political and social ideas of which it approves.
If something vaguely conservative and intellectually stimulating manages to get past Google’s content gatekeepers, they just remove it. YouTube, which is owned by Google, routinely demonetizes, restricts and censors conservative content. One target of YouTube was Dennis Prager’s PragerU, which had 40 of its videos restricted. Prager sued the social media video giant this year following these unfounded restrictions. YouTube has also been known for banning pro-life videos.
“Google & others are suppressing voices of conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” President Trump tweeted last year, USA Today reported.
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
The president is absolutely right, USA Today reported.
We found very consistently that on Google they ended up with search results favoring liberals and favoring liberal news sources, and it was quite a dramatic effect.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Google was accused of manipulating search results to favor Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Also, research at Harvard University found that Google’s search rankings are not objective, and in 2017, the company was fined billions of dollars by the European Union for manipulating search results.
Google also maintains at least nine shadowy blacklists that affect what the public sees when using its search engine.
When it’s not manipulating the internet to prevent users from viewing right-wing content, Google is directly attacking that content. A report by The Daily Caller News Foundation revealed that Google’s fact-checking service “fact-checked” only conservative news websites, and that in many cases, these fact-checks were outright wrong. What does it say about the fact-checker when its fact-checking is biased and incorrect?
Sometimes, the tech giant just attacks conservatives directly. In one infamous example, a Google search result listed “Nazism” as an official ideology of the California GOP. North Carolina Sen. Trudy Wade, a Republican, was shocked to discover that the top search result for her name returned a photo labeling her as a bigot.
Google is clearly manipulating and controlling the political narrative in favor of Democrats and the left, and silencing conservatives and Republicans.
A researcher told RT that Google flipped seats, shifted millions of votes to Dems in 2018 midterms.
“Upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world are being decided without people’s knowledge by Google’s search algorithm,” senior research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology told RT, calling the search engine the “deciding factor” in close races.
Epstein, who received his PhD in psychology from Harvard University and is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, said that his methodology was thorough and meticulous.
“We did this very, very carefully. We had field agents focusing on three congressional races in California which were very hotly contested races in Republican districts,” Epstein told RT.
“And we gave to these field agents about 500 election-related search terms. Each one had different search terms for different districts, where there are different issues, of course.
“And the point is, we simply looked at what kind of search results they received when they were conducting election-related searches.”
Epstein’s study of three 2018 California House races found Google played the deciding role in flipping those Republican-held seats to the Democrats, influencing millions of undecided voters by controlling what they saw when they searched 500 election-related terms. Google’s results showed a “significant liberal bias,” unlike Bing’s or Yahoo’s – and with 90 percent of the search engine’s market share in the US, that bias is enormously influential.
Search results favoring one side of an issue can influence anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters, depending on the issue and demographic group, Epstein said. He has spent six years investigating the role of what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) in swaying public opinion, more recently focusing on the political ramifications by looking at various countries’ elections.
“People trust algorithmic output. They trust Google. They think because it’s generated by a computer, they don’t see the human hand – they think it’s impartial and objective and, because of that, their opinions change,” Epstein said.
While Google denies it manipulates search rankings to manipulate political sentiment or makes election-specific tweaks, Epstein says their response is disingenuous – he never claimed they re-ranked results, merely that the results they displayed were biased.