Google likes to pretend that it’s not a partisan company, but that ship sailed long ago. Evidence to the contrary continues to pour out of the company like a broken dam.
The latest evidence was brought to the public’s attention on Thursday during Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. According to Carlson, he came into possession of emails from Google employees discussing ways to manipulate search engine results in order to combat President Donald Trump’s travel ban of troubled middle eastern countries.
From the Daily Caller:
“Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued his now famous travel ban. Almost immediately, Google employees began plotting ways to undermine the president’s executive order,” Carlson reported.
A Google product marketing manager named Mackenzie Thomas on Jan. 29, 2017, sent an email to other Google employees that read: “There is a large brainstorm going on throughout the marketing org,” Thomas told coworkers, according to Carlson’s report, which was confirmed by The Wall Street Journal.
Thomas suggested ways to “actively counter algorithmically biased results” for search results including “Islam,” “Iran,” “Mexico” and “Latino,” according to Carlson’s report.
In other words, Thomas was looking to find ways to alter Google’s algorithms so that anytime someone punched in words associated with Trump’s travel ban, it would immediately direct them to sites that ran contrary narratives to Trump’s. Typing in a search about Iran such as “Iran funds terrorism” would take you to positive stories instead of giving you stories about how Iran funds terrorism.
This is entirely unethical, but as Carlson pointed out on his show, Thomas’ employees were more than willing to help.
“We’re absolutely in, Mackenzie. Anything you need. Will put together a list of orgs with Meryl and H-L team,” replied product manager Rami Banna.
Google issued a statement to Fox News ahead of the show, denying everything according to Carlson:
“These emails were just a brainstorm of ideas, none of which were ever implemented. Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology — not in the current campaign season, not during the 2016 election, and not in the aftermath of President Trump’s executive order on immigration,” Google said in a statement to Fox News.
“Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies.”
As Carlson points out, this is not a great response from Google, who essentially admitted that this kind of planning was going on but that nothing was actually happening in terms of algorithmic changes.
“If you ran a bank, and you caught your tellers ‘brainstorming’ about how to rob the vault, would you be OK with that?” asked Carlson. “Remember that Google fired an engineer named James Damore almost instantly last summer when he was caught expressing mildly conservative ideas in a private memo.”
Carlson is 100 percent correct. Damore was fired after writing a document that encouraged the company to be more inclusive when it came to conservative ideologies and pointed out that many of the narratives running around the company may be untrue. The bottom line here is that Damore got fired for merely sharing an idea.
Aside from Damore’s abrupt firing, however, Google claimed it never manipulates search results in favor of one party or another. It maintains that it is an unbiased organization. This is demonstrably false. Aside from its now defunct “fact check” feature that only fact-checked conservative sites, Google was caught manipulating search results during the 2016 campaign.
As I covered back in 2016, SourceFed found that Google was offering up auto-complete results that didn’t exactly fall in line with what people were searching for in regards to Hillary Clinton. Google responded to the SourceFed video denying that it happened, and explained that Google tends to offer less critical search results for candidates. As ZeroHedge pointed out later, this claim is entirely suspect as the auto-complete function was far kinder to Clinton than it was the other candidates.
If Google was being truthful, and there was no rigging of the search results during the election, they were definitely punishing people associated with them for not supporting her enough when they asked. As famed YouTube commentator Phillip DeFranco claimed that he wasn’t invited to 2016’s YouTube rewind after denying to make a video supporting Clinton.
DeFranco claims in a video of his that he didn’t appear in one of YouTube’s biggest events of the year despite winning a Streamy Award because Google had approached him about making a pro-Clinton video. DeFranco says he “sh*t all over that idea,” and according to him was the reason he didn’t get a chance to be a part of YouTube’s celebration of that year.