Tech giant Google is allegedly manipulating its online search results to bury terms that could be damaging to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, according to an analysis conducted by SourceFed, a news website with a prominent YouTube channel.
“SourceFed has discovered that Google has been actively altering search recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, so quietly that we were unable to see it for what it was until today,” SourceFed’s Matt Lieberman said in a new video posted online Thursday.
Lieberman explained how, for example, if someone types “Hillary Clinton cri” into Google, the site’s auto-complete function, which provides the user search term suggestions while typing into the search bar, shows three potential searches: “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” “Hillary Clinton crisis,” and “Hillary Clinton crime bill 1994.” But when someone types “Hillary Clinton cri” into Yahoo’s search engine, the first search suggestion to appear is “Hillary Clinton criminal charges,” followed by “Hillary Clinton crimes” and “Hillary Clinton criminal.”
“There’s clearly something wrong here, right?” Lieberman asked. “It’s like if you put three people into a room that’s on fire and two out of three people yell ‘fire’ and the third person yells, ‘I’m in a room.’”
The SourceFed analysis shows that this mismatch in search terms is intentional rather than the result of people searching different terms on different websites.
Lieberman explained that when SourceFed searched in Google Trends for “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” the site’s top search suggestion for the aforementioned example, there were not enough searches of the term to even build a graph on the site. However, when SourceFed searched “Hillary Clinton crimes,” Google gave back a full graph, indicating that far more people are searching for the latter term rather than the former.
“Which begs the question, why on earth is [Hillary Clinton crime reform] the first potential result?” Lieberman asked. “Google just doesn’t want you to know or ask.”
To gather more data, SourceFed wanted to see if Clinton’s much-discussed private email server that she used as secretary of state would yield similar results.
They discovered that when someone types “Hillary Clinton ind” into Bing or Yahoo, the first search suggestion is “Hillary Clinton indictment,” followed by a series of indictment-related search terms. When the same text is typed into Google, though, the first two recommended terms are “Hillary Clinton Indiana” and “Hillary Clinton India.”
“The intention is clear: Google is burying potential searches for terms that could have hurt Hillary Clinton in the primary elections over the past several months by manipulating recommendations on their site,” Lieberman said.
SourceFed cited the work of Dr. Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute of Behavioral Research, whose most recent experiments focused on changing political opinion through search engine results. In his study, according to Lieberman, Epstein held a mock election and allowed the mock voters to search for various terms regarding the two candidates. Epstein showed mostly positive results for both Candidate A and Candidate B, while having a control group that received mixed, untouched results.
“What he found was that he was able to swing voters up to 48 percent for whatever side had more positive results, a process he dubbed ‘voter manipulation power,’” Lieberman said.
Epstein was quoted after the experiment as saying, “Google could determine the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of all national elections.”
Lieberman noted that the Hillary Clinton campaign has made no comment about the topic of search manipulation.
Full article: Google Allegedly Manipulating Search Results to Help Hillary Clinton’s Campaign (Washington Free Beacon)