New Reports Indicate Google-Youtube Manipulation of Search Results

P. Gardner Goldsmith | January 28, 2019
Font Size

What’s wrong with an opinion?

In his 19th Century book, “On Liberty”, famous Utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill explained that society and the state should leave speech alone. Even incorrect opinions were valuable, he argued, because they allowed people to check and perfect their own arguments.

Unfortunately, numerous recent articles indicate that, just as many of us have been saying, Google, Youtube, and their parent corporation, Alphabet, have been manipulating search results and suppressing unorthodox (conservative, libertarian, anti-war, and other posts), and they will continue to do so.

Breitbart’s Allum Bokhari revealed that a leaked thread of internal discussions between Google/Youtube employees reveals that the corporation regularly manipulates search results.

The term ‘abortion’ was added to a ‘blacklist’ file for ‘controversial YouTube queries,’ which contains a list of search terms that the company considers sensitive. According to the leak, these include some of these search terms related to: abortion, abortions, the Irish abortion referendum, Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and anti-gun activist David Hogg.

This information comes from a leaker whom Breitbart claims desires to remain anonymous, but Bokhari writes that the information is backed-up by a second leaker, who provided a partial list of “blacklisted terms” that, when searched, would see collectivist-progressive-oriented material pushed higher in the results than non-collectivist posts that had already proven themselves much more popular.

And one example of this, the first leaker tells Bokhari, came in December, 2018, when a Slate “reporter” complained “about the prominence of pro-life videos on YouTube”, and, the leaker claims, YouTube shifted the more popular pro-life videos down, making them harder to find.

‘The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday,’ wrote the employee. ‘And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.’

So, despite the fact that the pro-life videos were more popular, and should have popped up first, the leaker claims they were suppressed.

The manually downranked items included several videos from Dr. Antony Levatino, a former abortion doctor who is now a pro-life activist. Another video in the top ten featured a woman’s personal story of being pressured to have an abortion, while another featured pro-life conservative Ben Shapiro. The Slate journalist who complained to Google reported that these videos previously featured in the top ten, describing them in her story as ‘dangerous misinformation.’

Which is a bone-rattling thing: to see a supposed “reporter” claim and complain about when it comes to speech. Even if the videos were mistaken, the idea that a reporter would want to see those opinions and presentations suppressed is infuriating.

But, of course, it’s not surprising. For decades, conservatives and libertarians have noted the left-collectivist bias in the media, be it the old dinosaur networks and PBS, or newer “news” outlets like CNN and MSNBC, we’ve noted that the choice of stories, the order of stories, the time devoted to them, the wording, the interview subjects – they typically contribute to pro-collectivist narratives.

Peter Hasson reports for The Daily Caller that other leaked documents from Google show that many infamously leftist Google employees became irate at a company presentation that used the term “family”.

Many Google employees became angry that the term was used while discussing a product aimed at children, because it implied that families have children, the documents show. The backlash grew large enough that a Google vice president addressed the controversy and solicited feedback on how the company could become more inclusive.

And there’s more from the leak.

The use of “family” as a synonym for “with children” has a long-standing association with deeply homophobic organizations. This does not mean we should not use the word “family” to refer to families, but it mean we must doggedly insist that family does not imply children.... Use the word “family” to mean a loving assemblage of people who may or may not live together and may or may not include people of any particular age. STOP using it to mean “children”. It’s offensive, inappropriate, homophobic, and wrong.

To top that off, the New York Times just reported that Google-Youtube is planning on suppressing “conspiracy” videos.

The fact that some conspiracy theories -- such as the Nazis setting the Reichstag Fire, and the false nature of the Gulf of Tonkin incident -- are borne out seems unimportant to these people.

The fact that it’s inappropriate to suppress someone’s speech simply because one disagrees seems doubly lost on them.

Of course, many of us have known for years about Youtube and Google seeming to manipulate searches. Mark Dice, one of the first Youtubers to sound the alarm about demonetizing of videos that kicked off during the 2016 Presidential battle, many months ago showed how he could do a search for one of his most popular videos, a production with millions of views, he could use the precise name of the video, and, rather than appearing at the top of the search results as it used to, it was smothered behind seven pages of results. What was pushed to the top? Material from CNN, MSNBC, and other leftist propaganda outfits that had far fewer views. He just did an update to remind people of the problem.

And this behavior will eventually have a “result on the results”, whereby, because of Youtube shoving less popular videos to the top, and Google pushing websites to the top, they will get more clicks, eventually pushing them statistically higher. A self-perpetuating feedback loop results, driving down the “uncouth” ideas Google doesn’t like.

Youtube is “curating” material like an editor, yet, legally, it calls itself a “platform”, which, based on US law, allows the corporation to avoid lawsuits for slanderous or libelous material creators post.

But, if one wants to go by the law, the corporate lefties at Youtube cannot have it both ways. If they curate and move items, if they take down videos, they are no longer a “platform”, and the government “protection” from liability disappears.

Don’t count on anything changing, however. It seems that Youtube is amping up its leftist approach, demonetizing conservatives, libertarians, and anti-war creators, and manipulation of searches.

Which makes alternative platforms even more appealing.