Google accused of rigging search results to be pro-Hillary Clinton

“Google’s autocomplete function seems to be tilted in favor of Hillary Clinton, a report says, but the company denied that it skews results for any candidate,” Steve Goldstein and Jeremy C. Owens report for MarketWatch. “According to a SourceFed video posted Thursday, Alphabet Inc.’s search engine yields different, less critical autocomplete results for some Clinton-related phrases than similar searches on Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Inc. products.”

“For example, SourceFed noted in a video on Google’s own YouTube service that typing ‘Hillary Clinton cri’ on Yahoo and Microsoft’s Bing suggest phrases that link Hillary Clinton to crime. Similarly, typing ‘Hillary Clinton ind’ on Yahoo and Bing suggest phrases that link Hillary Clinton to the possibility of being indicted as a result of her email records,” Goldstein and Owens report. “On Google, however, typing ‘Hillary Clinton cri’ results in suggestions for ‘Hillary Clinton crime reform’ and ‘Hillary Clinton crisis.’ Similarly, a search for ‘Hillary Clinton ind’ brings up suggestions on Hillary Clinton and Indiana, independents and India, and not indictment.”

“Search traffic for the phrases that do not appear is much greater than those that do, as SourceFed pointed out. For instance, a Google Trends search shows that ‘Hillary Clinton indictment’ has been a much more popular search term throughout the first few months of 2016 than any of the other options Google search offers when the term begins to be entered into the search engine,” Goldstein and Owens report. “SourceFed also showed that common negative searches for Clinton’s Democratic primary competitor and presumed general election foe — Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump, respectively — appeared near the top of autocomplete results.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The dangers of having one massively dominant online search engine portal should be plainly evident to anyone with at least half a brain.

For those who might dispute that statement because of political party affiliation and/or the specific search terms affected in this specific report, simply imagine the Koch brothers buying and running Google tomorrow.

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. — Lord Acton

SEE ALSO:
White House visitor logs show meeting after meeting between Google execs and top Obama administration officials – May 17, 2016
The Android Administration: Google’s remarkably close relationship with the Obama White House – April 22, 2016
Google averages one White House meeting per week during Obama administration – March 25, 2015
U.S. FTC report details how Google skewed search results in its own favor – March 20, 2015
Google’s antitrust settlement with U.S. FTC reshapes patent disputes – January 5, 2013
The FTC’s missed opportunity on Google – January 4, 2013
Obama to reward Google’s Schmidt with Cabinet post? – December 5, 2012
Consumer Watchdog calls for probe of Google’s inappropriate relationship with Obama administration – January 25, 2011

[Attribution: New York Post. Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Lynn Weiler” for the heads up.]

28 Comments

  1. Umm….anyone in the shooting sports knows Google has been manipulating results for political purposes for years. This is not exactly new behavior on their part.

    1. Looking at Bing and Yahoo results, couldn’t someone accuse them of rigging results to be anti-HC ?

      Or maybe there is no rigging.
      Without knowing the searches (which would raise privacy issues), maybe people using Google are looking up pro-HC topics more often, while people using Bing are looking up anti-HC topics more often.

        1. You can a lot more sure Kim Kardashian is a lot closer to that than you are. She’s made a bunch of rather shrewd business moves or has at least been smart enough to take advice regarding them. And she has made a fortune. What have you accomplished that puts you up on a throne over her or anyone else? My guess is zero and you thought had an easy three pointer from half court. You missed the basket. Didn’t even bounce off the rim.

          His suggestion makes a great deal of sense. If you know anything about surveys/stats, you would understand the simple claim is meaningless without background and information as to demographics and political leanings of the people doing similar searches. You would also need to know some details on the underlying algorithms used by each search website.

        2. Turns out I was on the right track.

          SourceFed is manipulating how autocomplete works to make it look like a bias in search results. “ind” does not autocomplete to “indictment” for Clinton, but it doesn’t do that for anyone else either. “rac” autocompletes to “racism” for Trump, but it does that for Clinton too.

  2. Interesting but we already know that companies work to get hit results in their favor with Google. It’s a standard and key part of marketing nowadays.
    Therefore to think that internet searches are unbiased is a tad naive. In the study cited where voter intent was swayed by search bias, the participants had no additional source of information. In real life there are multiple sources of information like TV news, newspapers, radio etc. We all know those claim to be unbaised but typically have some political leaning (FOX news vs say CNN or ABC news).
    Bias is always going to be a factor and individuals will differ in the level they are influenced. I generally think people will believe more in statements that fit in line with their standard view than those that oppose that. In other words we all have bias.

  3. Nice to see crooked Google and the rest of the “mainstream” media getting what they’ve so richly deserved forever.

    Read more about Uncle Walter ‘Commie’ Cronkite.

    That’s right, “The Most Trusted Man in America” was an unethical partisan who misused his position as America’s news gatekeeper to drive a leftist agenda. This now pervades the U.S. “mainstream” media.

    For those that will cite Fox News: Fox News is a result of and a reaction to the pervasive leftist bias in U.S. “news.”

    See also: Bias:A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News by Bernie Goldberg

    1. To be fair, there is nothing bad about being a “commie”, though. This ideology is direct opposite of capitalism, that always strives to become an oligopoly and, eventually, a monopoly by its very nature and basic principles. Very few buy and own government and exploit everyone else to grab 99% of all surplus, all value added product to themselves. “Commies” are against that, they do not allow crony capitalism and this type of robbery.

      Not to say that communism is perfect or actually achievable, but striving for social justice is a noble thing versus Ayn Rand-esque egoism and greed that suppose to self-regulate everything.

      1. The answer to crony capitalism is actual capitalism.

        Crony capitalism is the use of politics to knee cap capitalism.

        Capitalism is about individuals and organizations right to use their own property as they see fit and to enter into transactions with others at will.

        Crony capitalism means this has broken down as people are using money to buy governmental favor, or other coercion, to derail normal competitive forces in their favor or funnel money from taxes to themselves for reasons other than the merits of their service.

  4. People keep complaining about Rupert Murdoch’s apparent influence in politics.

    Meanwhile no one seems to be going after Google/Alphabet/Schmidt.

    Get the feeling that so long as they keep dishing up quick results for memes, funny cats and porn, no one cares.

  5. I confirmed this skewing myself days ago, when searching for “crooked hi”, “crooked Hillary”, and anything in between resulted in a suggested link to hillaryclinton.com – her campaign website – as a top choice. Oh no, no skewing at all.

    Google also appears to be skewing results in the UK where searches for the EU referendum, which formerly had been going to a popular site arguing the case for leaving (aka Brexit) were now going overwhelmingly to government sites promoting a vote to remain in.

    1. Just read an article that points out this SourceFed’s accusations are a lie. They are manipulating the way *autocomplete* works to try to make it seem like one candidate is favored over another. But they never make an apple-to-apple comparison.

      How? They use the different words for different people. “rac -> racism” when they put in Trump, but they would have gotten the same thing for Clinton. Similarly, they didn’t get “ind -> indictment” for Clinton, but they wouldn’t get that for Sanders or Trump either.

      Autocomplete works on a word by word basis. The person mentioned first is irrelevant for what is done next. When they typed out the entire word or phrases (instead of allowing autocomplete to make suggestions), they would have gotten the search results they expected.

    1. Did you read the article? It claimed the skew was against Bernie Sanders in favor of Hillary Clinton. I’ll agree Clinton is amoral, but she’s hardly a leftist. She’s a moderate-right politician. She’s farther right than Ronald Reagan was on a bunch of issues.

  6. This is news? Google has manipulated search results for profit and for political purposes since its inception.

    But again, I wouldn’t give any other large media provider a free pass on this. Do you really think Apple Music serves up music to you that isn’t paid for by record label payola? Do you really think that Siri recommends businesses based on objective information? Hell no. Ask directions to the nearest pizza parlor and Siri will drive you right past the awesome independents on the way to the crappy national chain restaurant on the far side of town.

    As a small business owner, Big Data has become a nemesis, not a friend.

  7. Irrelevant. Up to 70% of democrats (depending on the poll) said they’d vote for Mrs Clinton, even if she were indicted of racketeering charges, lying to investigators and of breaking US laws pertaining to top secret documents.
    Democrats have spoken. They’ve stated they’ll vote for her, even if they knew she’d looked them straight in the eye and lied about, well, everything.

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