After criticizing social media platforms for mass-censoring conservatives and the alternative media earlier this month, President Trump has turned his attention to Google. Not a moment too soon — of all the politically biased tech giants, Google is by far the most dangerous.
Trump’s critical comments about Google referenced statistics from a report in PJ Media which found that a staggering 96 percent of search results for “Trump” return results from news sites that are hostile to the President. Breitbart News’ own investigation found the same result.
As Google search results are personalized, this wasn’t a strictly scientific study — that would require tests on hundreds, if not thousands of Google users. But the fact that a conservative columnist received search results that were 96 percent liberal should be deeply worrying. If that’s what a conservative with a (presumably) conservative search history sees, what kind of results are being sent to swing-voters?
The fact that it could be a problem of all search engines, not just Google, due to the way search algorithms detect “trustworthy” content is true, but Google holds a stranglehold on the search market. It’s closest english-language competitor, Bing, holds 7 percent of the market for searches according to NetMarketShare.
Another obvious problem with Google search is how its algorithm repeatedly surfaces information from Wikipedia at the top of search results. Wikipedia is an “online encyclopedia” that relies on a mass of anonymous, unaccountable editors to create its myriad of pages. The encyclopedia’s citation rules, which favor academic and establishment media sources while excluding sources like Breitbart News and the Daily Caller as “unreliable” inherently favor the left.
So too does its cabal of unaccountable left-wing editors, who are slowly but surely turning the purportedly non-partisan encyclopedia into a platform for anti-Trump propaganda. Wikipedia editors recently added Trump to a list of advocates of the “white genocide conspiracy theory” following his comments on the racially motivated murders of white farmers in South Africa. They previously included ICE detention centers on a Wikipedia list of “concentration camps.” The result of Google’s reliance on a far-left encyclopedia is that false information – fake news, you could say – has the potential to reach the top of the search engine’s results, like the time when the California GOP were labeled a “Nazi” party on Wikipedia, a categorization that then made its way to Google.
While Google leaps to address individual scandals like the California GOP, don’t expect any fundamental changes to address bias — the company is fundamentally hostile to Trump and to Trumpism. After all, this is a company whose senior management was on the verge of tears following his election victory. Furthermore, the company has quite publicly announced their intention to pour millions of dollars into propping up the legacy media, including direct funding of far-left anti-Trump publications like Vox.
If Google’s well-documented far-left biases are trickling into its search algorithm, what is the worst that could happen? If recent research is to be believed, the worst would be no more election victories for conservative candidates — ever.
The research, led by former Psychology Today editor Dr. Robert Epstein shows that when presented with negative search results about a candidate, the opinions of undecided voters shift against that candidate by a staggering 43.4 percent — enough to swing virtually any election. Epstein’s earlier research suggests that Google already biased its search results towards Hillary Clinton in 2016, shifting up to 2.6 million votes in her favor (just below the margin by which she won the popular vote).
Google’s upper management has, in the past, been brazen about its political biases. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet in 2016, set up a shadowy organization called “The Groundwork” aimed at harnessing the expertise of Silicon Valley to put Hillary Clinton in the White House. In a 2014 email leaked by WikiLeaks, Clinton campaign manager John Podesta also claimed that Schmidt wanted to be “head outside adviser” to the Clinton campaign.
It’s impossible to say for sure if Google is deliberately stacking its search results against Trump. And that’s the entire problem — the company is not currently required to be transparent about its algorithms, who’s in charge of them, and what their biases are. Given the vast power that this company has accumulated — the power to “organize the world’s information”, as the company’s own mission statement reads — how can this be allowed to continue?