As the internet has become an increasingly central part of modern life, Big Tech giants such as Facebook, Twitter and Google have increasingly sought to become the gatekeepers of the internet and political discourse. However, without any sort of democratic mandate or external check, these companies appointed themselves the arbiters of what thought, discussion and online searches are acceptable, without any kind of oversight. Evidence of bias in Google’s search results have emerged in recent years.
Google’s bias in search results has come under sharp criticim. Google appears to suppress conservative viewpoints and conservative websites.
Google’s search algorithm is based on complex mathematical programs that use a set of algorithms to determine the most relevant search results for a given query. The exact details of Google’s algorithms are proprietary and constantly evolving. Yet, we can see plain as glass that Google altered the search engine in favor of the left.
Former President Trump tweeted when in office:
“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!”
Google claims this is false and there is no bias in their search results.
But Harvard University found that Google’s search rankings are not objective!
Furthermore, in 2017, Google received billions of dollars of fines from the European Union for manipulating search results.
Lastly, Google received tons of criticism for filtering negative searches on Hillary Clinton, while leaving negative searches on Republican opponents intact.
We spoke with a former engineer from Google who told us off the record:
“The obvious example is that it was completing nicknames Blue gave to Red, but not the ones Red gave to Blue. i.e., suggestions for [‘crooked’ won’t come up vs ‘lying’ that did, referring to Hillary Clinton and Ted Cruz], where the Blue ones were explicitly banned, And there were leaks proving these later. This can be compared to how Google deliberately allows search-completing jokes about men, but not women, or how all [American inventors] are somehow black. Politics, it turns out, is about as political these days as race and gender, who would have thought?”
Moreover, it’s worth noting that search results can vary based on a number of factors, including the user’s search history, location, and the specific query being searched. Additionally, Google regularly updates its search algorithms in an effort to improve search quality and relevance, which can also result in changes to search results.
Another ex-Google engineer told us:
“This bias can be partially explained not by the Google policy itself but by the army of policing activists who are actively reporting undesired YouTube videos, which causes [such videos to be taken down or deprioritized]. Until recently, videos from the Russian opposition suffered the same pessimization because pro-Kremlin activists were about as active as the pro-Democrat ones.”
I asked the famous Artificial Intelligence professor Gary Marcus of NYU if Google is biased. His answer was quite simple — “Often, yes!”
As consumers of information, we must remain vigilant and continue to question the sources and motivations behind the content we encounter online. Is Google’s bias favoring liberal viewpoints in its search results? While Google has denied these claims and stated that its search algorithm is designed to be impartial, the evidence points otherwise.
While bias in search results may seem like a minor issue to some, it can have significant consequences for democracy and the free exchange of ideas.
Alexander Fleiss is the CEO of think tank Rebellion Research and has taught Artificial Intelligence at Cornell, Princeton, Yale, Columbia, NYU, Amherst College, MIT and has 18 academic research publications.
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