WSJ Investigation Further Debunks Google’s Claim of No Manual Intervention in Searches

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Alex Wong/ Getty

A major investigation by The Wall Street Journal has unearthed yet more material in a growing pile of evidence that shows Google manually intervenes in its search results, sometimes in a manner that favors the political left.

The investigation, a product of multiple reporters working over several months, shows among other things that:

  • Following complaints from pro-abortion group Naral, 39 percent of Google search results for the term “abortion” return results from Planned Parenthood’s website, compared to 16 percent for competing search engine DuckDuckGo and just 14 percent for Microsoft’s Bing.
  • Google blacklists certain websites from its search results, including conservative news websites The Gateway Pundit and the United West, corroborating previous reporting showing the removal of conservative websites on Google search results.
  • There is growing debate over whether Google should continue to fight content takedown requests from censorship-prone countries like Turkey and Russia. A few years ago, according to the report, Google dismantled a team focused on global free speech issues.
  • When Breitbart News leaked the Google Tape last year, it was initially buried on the twelfth page of Google search results for the term “leaked Google video Trump.” It was only after employees within the company complained about the problem on internal message boards that the video started appearing higher in search results.
  • Google routinely adjusts its search algorithms in a way that dramatically impacts the bottom line of businesses that rely on Google search results to drive traffic. These businesses typically receive no warning before such changes, and are forced to lobby Google after the fact in order to stay afloat.
  • According to a source, “Google made more than 3,200 changes to its algorithms in 2018, up from more than 2,400 in 2017 and from about 500 in 2010.”

Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal

In comments to The Wall Street Journal, representatives maintained that the company does not “manually intervene in search results.” This is the same assurance that CEO Sundar Pichai gave under oath before Congress in December last year.

Yet in the months since Pichai made that statement, investigations — including the WSJ’s latest — have contradicted him time and time again. Just a month after Pichai gave that assurance to Congress, Breitbart News revealed that Google does manually intervene in its search results, on both its main search engine and YouTube. A leaked message from a member of the company’s Trust & Safety team even referred to “manual fixes” for search results on the search engine. One former engineer has accused Pichai of lying to Congress about blacklists.

Are you an insider at Google, Facebook, Twitter or any other tech company who wants to confidentially reveal wrongdoing or political bias at your company? Reach out to Allum Bokhari at his secure email address allumbokhari@protonmail.com

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News.

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