White House Checks Google, Bing for Breitbart Coverage of Scandals
One of the biggest challenges for the White House and other political leaders in the future will be grappling with algorithms on search engines and social networks that use a person’s online history and habits to shape results.
“What all these things are doing is narrowing the range of options that you’re going to be exposed to,” said Baum, the Harvard professor.
Pfeiffer said that compared to companies or campaigns, the White House has only a limited set of tools to respond to these changes. But even today, White House officials will do test searches and respond accordingly.
“What’s the first page on Google and Bing look like? Let’s take Benghazi,” Pfeiffer said, referring to the partisan battle over the administration’s response to the attacks on U.S. facilities in Libya in 2012. “Is it five things from Free Beacon and Breitbart? Or is it something from the New York Times or is it from the New Republic?”
If the administration’s perspective is not well represented in the Google search results, he added, “we have to ask: Does it mean we need to do a better job of getting our message out?”
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