Documents leaked to Project Veritas show how YouTube created a blacklist for search terms related to last year’s referendum in Ireland on the legality of abortion, confirming past reporting by Breitbart News that Google regularly manipulates its algorithms for “politically sensitive” content and employs blacklists on YouTube to manipulate video search results.
The document, the latest within a tranche of leaks obtained by James O’Keefe’s investigative organization Project Veritas, appears to show a series of search terms blacklisted by the company in the run-up to Ireland’s referendum on the 8th Amendment last May.
Some of the blacklisted terms set out in the document, entitled “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” include “abortion is wrong,” “save the eighth,” and “pro-life.”
It is unclear exactly how Google manipulated searches for the aforementioned terms, although given the company’s extensively documented hostility towards the pro-life movement, it is unlikely that the blacklist was created with the aim of guaranteeing the company’s political neutrality in the run-up to last year’s referendum.
“On Monday Project Veritas released a viral investigation that raised questions of Google’s interference in American elections,” O’Keefe said of the document’s publication. “This new document shows their subsidiary, YouTube, appeared to have attempted to influence elections in Ireland.”
In the run-up to the vote, Google publicly announced that it had suspended all advertising connected to the referendum as part of an effort to protect “election integrity,” presumably over fears that foreign actors could influence the vote in favor of the pro-life cause. Facebook also took similar measures, also with the supposed aim of promoting electoral integrity.
If Google had intended to influence the referendum in favor of the pro-abortion cause, then their attempts appear to have been successful. The campaign to repeal the 8th amendment, which outlawed abortion nationwide, won by a landslide margin of 66.4 percent to 33.6 percent.
These documents confirm past reporting by Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari, who in January revealed how Google regularly manipulates its search results on political issues ranging from abortion and gun rights to anti-gun activist David Hogg.
A YouTube spokesperson provided the following statement to Breitbart News: “We’ve been very public that for a wide range of news and information queries, we have algorithms that are designed to surface authoritative content of all political viewpoints. This helps prevent spam and conspiracy theories from surfacing prominently on our site. In the midst of the Irish referendum on abortion, our systems brought authoritative content to the top of our search results for abortion-related queries. This happened for both pro-choice and pro-life queries, there was no distinction.”
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