Google needs to fight to ensure that populist movements around the world are merely a “blip” and a “hiccup” in the arc of history that “bends towards progress.” – Google Global Affairs VP Kent Walker
“You are finished, @GOP. You polished the final nail for your own coffins. FUCK. YOU. ALL. TO. HELL… I hope the last images burned into your slimy, evil, treasonous retinas are millions of women laughing and clapping and celebrating as your souls descend into the flames.” – Google Design Lead Dave Hogue
Much has been made about bias at Google. Leaked internal documents show bias, they’ve gone on the record being biased, employees were penalized over fighting this bias. They’ve considered everything from censorship, rigging search results, and outright murder. Here I’ll be looking just at the searches.
When it comes to search results, I hardly look for patterns. My first assumption is always user error, as I am a user who makes a lot of errors. Sometimes though a few things leap out at me, especially if the pattern is recurring over the course of several searches.
I’ve referenced this phenomenon before, when trying to find information on North Vietnamese atrocities. While the reason for there not being much info about that on the internet likely is because any scholars or web-based outlets writing about it support Hanoi Jane, think “The Trial of Billy Jack” is a documentary, and would’ve spat on our soldiers at the time if they could, it still wouldn’t explain why the top search results for “North Vietnamese atrocities”, “atrocities committed by North Vietnam”, and similar searches didn’t give me results about North Vietnamese atrocities on the first page. Instead, the results I was greeted with first and foremost, and as the overwhelming majority of search results, were items related to American misconduct. I know supposedly Google ranks results by popularity and reliability, but here it was like searching for a sushi recipe and getting a thousand ways to make sake instead.
I had considered referencing such matters as I went along in the posts, and may do so in the future, but while doing the midterm stuff I decided to just pile everything here. Besides, I think it’s more potent if you see all the search issues I’ve had in one spot, instead of scattering them in each article. Granted, it’s more likely you’ll see it should I complain about it more often, but it doesn’t have so big an impact as seeing it all at once if it just becomes steady background noise.
Anyway, let’s get to it.
On August 5 I tried to find an article showing that the claim Steve Scalise spoke at a white nationalist rally was debunked. Page 4 is where I found it in one of my searches. I tried several before that, but the first one or two pages of each were completely full of Leftwing news sources and even blogs or forums talking about how he was guilty of it. The search that I finally found the article in, it was 3 pages of all that before I got to the truth. Full disclosure- it didn’t help matters that Scalise admitted to it- assuming that the allegations made by a loser Democrat’s son, a loser Democrat who claimed that Scalise’s district was mostly composed of bigots because they wouldn’t vote for her, was true. By the way- even after Scalise was shot, vaunted liberal outlets like Mic were still repeating this debunked conspiracy theory as truth.
Memory Holed History
I tried to find an article on August 8 dealing with how the Mexicans, in colonizing the Southwest, killed the natives instead of merely pushing them out as Americans tended to do (we had reservations and guns, the Mexicans just had guns). Particularly this was an issue near Texas, around the southern part of the 4 corners states. No luck, aside from a wikipedia page I found nothing, even though such things did happen. The search results were solely devoted to what Americans and centuries prior Spanish Conquistadors did to the natives. In other words- Mexico is given a pass. Maybe that’s a reflection of Google’s algorithms, or a reflection how the researchers at our universities believe Mexico should reclaim the lands that were given to us after they defaulted on their debt and started a war that left 13,000 Americans dead.
Each time I reference Hillary Clinton being an angry monster behind closed doors, I need to find the link again. I end up trying different searches to find this article, usually searching for content related to the part on Hillary demanding that soldiers wear business suits while in the White House. Usually one of the first two results glorifies Hillary, the rest are mostly unrelated or positive about her.
- “trent franks resigned” -the first page was entirely liberal outlets. Page two had a Fox News link in the middle, but was liberal otherwise.
- “violence against trump supporters” –first result is “FACT CHECK: Did Donald Trump Encourage Violence at His Rallies?” from snopes. Found to be true of course. Snopes does not believe Tim Kaine, Loretta Lynch, New York Times columnists, and ACLU lawyers called for violence (either through ignoring/hiding/burying or “debunking” these claims… “debunking” in quotations because it’s kind of hard to say “that person never said what they are on tape saying” as Snopes does, and still be considered credible by anyone not partisan like they are).
- “press make death threats against trump” mostly yielded threats against the press or Maxine Waters or people on Trump’s enemy’s list, rather than results about an NYT columnist who made a death threat against Trump.
- “death threats against trump” started with Maxine Waters, but gave like a 60-40 mix of death threats against journos and anti-Trumpers vs threats against Trump. For both this and the “press make death threats against trump” searches, the wikipedia article for assassination threats against Obama came up.
- “former government official threatens trump” led to top stories about Trump threatening to take away the clearances of former government officials.
- “dc police 1990 illiterate scandal mayor”/”dc police academy illiterate graduates”/”marion barry police illiterate” – not one result I wanted, with that last search only getting 2 pages. The story here is that DC’s mayor at the time, literally a crack smoker, lowered the standards for the police such that illiterate people were allowed in. Gang members, drug dealers, even people arrested recently were allowed in. But the mayor was a black liberal, so it’s natural any relevant search results would be hidden. Or perhaps even nonexistent.
- “Trump, without citing evidence, says China hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails” – Washington Post headline, top news story for the search “comey hillary not hacked” according to Google. One minor problem- WaPo is right that Trump cited no evidence, but wrong in the implication that there isn’t any. A reporter at the Daily Caller had discovered that the FBI knew China had breached Hillary’s emails in 2015 and did nothing about it. WaPo, either jealous of not getting that story in its anti-Trump anti-Russia fervor or jealously guarding Hillary, sent out this misleading headline with Google more than happy to promote it to the top result.
- “hillary intent Saucier” – the first result is a Snopes story claiming that Navy sailor Saucier was not held to a different standard than Hillary Clinton in regards to the treatment of classified information. Saucier was arrested while Hillary nearly became President. According to the FBI’s one-time-only-for-Hillary-and-her-aide interpretation of the law, Hillary and her aide had to deliberately want to endanger national security to be guilty. Saucier didn’t want to endanger the country, and he was put in prison. As for the difference being that the sailor (Saucier) knowingly did something while Hillary unknowingly did something wrong, I’ll point out that A: ignorance is no excuse as we’re always told, and B: Hillary MUST HAVE KNOWN because emails in her private server were MARKED classified, something Hillary’s apologists at CNN and Snopes or even Google since Snopes is their first result seem to have forgotten, lest it make the Left-proclaimed “most qualified candidate” look like a reckless idiot, or something worse given the emails about stripping classification headings from her messages (a Google search for this info had politifact, factcheck.org, and politico as the top sources, such bastions of liberalism).
- The first PAGE of results for “clinton emails remove classification” consisted of politifact, 2 factchecks, 2 politicos, a dailybeast, ABC News where Clinton crony/former Clinton White House operative George Stephenopolous resides, USA Today, theconversation, and wikipedia. ALL left-leaning or outright leftwing media outlets. On Aug. 5 2018, the 3rd result from the bottom of page 2 was the first rightwing outlet, Fox News. The next was WSJ at the top of page 3
To ruin one result may be regarded as a misfortune, to ruin two looks like carelessness, but twelve times…?
Well what do you think? Am I just bad at using Google, does Google’s search algorithm favor Leftwing sites because Google employees think they are reliable, or is it more malicious with the search algorithm targetting thought that Google disagrees with and ensuring it is rarely the first thing we see, or perhaps even not showing it at all? (One last personal experience, there was once an article for rightwing outlet “The Stream” that did not show up AT ALL well after it had been published, even when I quoted the title or quoted chunks of it.)
Now, some people try to spin Google’s actions. In the case of the employee they fired, Laurie Penny at The Guardian headlined “James Damore is wrong. It’s fine to discriminate against bigots and bullies”. It may interest her to know that the Left is starting to believe Dr. Martin Luther King jr was not tolerant enough. So Ms. Penny, are you just hoping to keep ahead of the Leftist wave until you die a natural death or are you prepared for the day when you too aren’t tolerant enough and someone says it’s ok to discriminate against you? I’ll refer you to Khrushchev Remembers, wherein we learn of real people like you- radicals saying it’s ok to discriminate based on subjective and ever-changing notions like “bigot” and “bully”- ended up being killed by the crusading government they created.
We also get efforts to spend Google’s own leaked docs to say that they’re struggling with censorship, but these defenders of Big Tech give away their partisan cheerleading, like the poor bloke at Techdirt who wrote “The Good Censor Document Shows Google Struggling With The Challenges Of Content Moderation”. In that piece, the author states that an 85-page leaked document on censorship that “Trumpkins” (DailyWire reported negatively on the document, and they are often at odds with Trump) jumped on as proof of Google censorship showed that Google was in fact struggling not to censor results. The insults at Trump supporters gave away the bias, the cheerleading happens when the author stupidly states that Google doesn’t want governments to abuse its platform. It looks REALLY bad now that we know Google had considered censoring conservative news outlets.
I say the cheerleading “stupidly” happened because it was a well-known public FACT at the time that Google built a censorship engine for the Chinese government. So we are left with this: the author must have known this, and decided to “forget” about it. And if Google truly wonders about evil governments abusing its platform in that 85-page document, then Google has some serious issues with self-delusion. Or, maybe, Google thinks the Chinese government is NOT a government that would abuse its censorship powers. Worse, and probably true, maybe Google doesn’t care about what the Chinese government does because they AGREE with its decisions. None of this looks good for Google, and certainly not for the Techdirt writer supporting them. Maybe that writer loves what China is doing too.
Oddly enough, the Techdirt piece was the 2nd search result for “Google “the good censor””. The first was the original Breitbart article talking about it. I find it odd because A: Breitbart is the first result and B: there isn’t a more reliable source as one of the top two results to counter Breitbart’s assertion.