Google defends against charges of showing favour to Hillary Clinton in search results
A few days back, Julian Assange of Wikileaks had alleged that Google was helping Hillary Clinton in covert ways in her presidential campaign for November 201. Assange claimed that Google was working closely with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to promote the Democratic presidential candidate from his temporary residence in Ecuadorian embassy in London, appeared via a video link during ‘New Era of Journalism: Farewell to Mainstream international media’ forum in Moscow.
Now another explosive video substantiating Assange’s claim as surfaced giving some voice to the anti-Hillary chorus. On Thursday, creators of the video on the YouTube channel SourceFed released an explosive video that alleged Google is actively altering search recommendations in favour of the presumptive Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton.
However, the search giant defended itself against charges of political bias in its search algorithm
In the video, it shows that if someone types “Hillary Clinton cri,” Google’s search suggests phrases like “Hillary Clinton crime reform” and “Hillary Clinton crisis”, said Matt Lieberman, host and writer for SourceFed. However, after typing the same phrase on Yahoo or Bing search, the first results are “Hillary Clinton criminal prosecution,” “Hillary Clinton crime,” and “Hillary Clinton criminal investigation,” he notes. The autofill on Google happens despite the fact “hillary clinton crimes” is a far more popular search phrase than “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” said SourceFed.
“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 in the video.
Responding to the video’s allegations, Republican candidate Donald Trump said it is a “disgrace” if Google would manipulate its searches.
“Very, very dishonest,” Trump said in a statement to USA Today. “They should let it float and allow people to see how crooked she really is.”
However, Google has denied the manipulated search results to favor Clinton. It said:
“Google Autocomplete does not favour any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how Autocomplete works. Our Autocomplete algorithm will not show a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person’s name. More generally, our autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms.”
Tamar Yehoshua, vice president of product management for Google’s search, wrote in the post. ”
The autocomplete algorithm is designed to avoid completing a search for a person’s name with terms that are offensive or disparaging. We made this change a while ago following feedback that Autocomplete too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people. This filter operates according to the same rules no matter who the person is.”
The post concludes with a note, addressed to the web searchers, “that your trust is what keeps you using Google.”
Here is the full post:
Google Search Autocomplete
Over the last week we’ve received questions about our autocomplete feature. I wanted to take the opportunity to clarify a few things.
The autocomplete algorithm is designed to avoid completing a search for a person’s name with terms that are offensive or disparaging. We made this change a while ago following feedback that Autocomplete too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people. This filter operates according to the same rules no matter who the person is, as you can see in some examples here.
Autocomplete isn’t an exact science, and the output of the prediction algorithms changes frequently. Predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity and freshness of search terms. Given that search activity varies, the terms that appears in Autocomplete for you may change over time. If you come across an Autocomplete prediction you consider offensive, please let us know. It’s also important to keep in mind that Autocomplete predictions aren’t search results and don’t limit what you can search for.
It’s a shortcut for those who are interested. You can still perform whatever search you want to, and of course, regardless of what you search for, we always strive to deliver the most relevant results from across the web.
We welcome feedback – and scrutiny – as it helps us provide you the best services. We recognize that your trust is what keeps you using Google, so we take our responsibility seriously. From the beginning, our approach has been to provide the most relevant answers, and we’ll continue doing just that.
The jury is out there to decide whether Google and Facebook are actually helping Hillary Clinton in the race for President of United States of America but that has not stopped Donald Trump from gaining a minor lead to her in runup to November 2016 face off.