Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before Congress and insisted that Google does not manually blacklist conservatives. But now a former Google engineer is saying Pichai flat out lied.
Former Google engineer Mike Wacker says that Google CEO Sundar Pichai lied when he told Congress “We don’t manually intervene on any particular search result.” Wacker says that Pichai’s comment was in answer to a question from Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) who asked why photos of President Trump wee labeled with the word “idiot” in Google searches.
Wacker made his claims in a blog post to Medium.com entitled, “Google’s Manual Interventions in Search Results.”
Pichai told Congress that it was an automated process and Google ranks results based on “relevance, freshness,” and “popularity.” He added in no uncertain terms that Google does not put human hands on any particular search result. But Wacker pointed out that when Slate writer April Glaser searched for the term “abortion” on YouTube and was unhappy with the results, she got a different answer than the one Pichai gave Congress.
She would later receive a response from a YouTube spokesperson. However, this answer was different from the answer that Sundar Pichai delivered to Rep. Lofgren. Instead of explaining how search works and how these results were produced by an objective, automated process, the spokesperson “stressed that the company is working to provide more credible news content from its search and discovery algorithms.”
Wacker added, “I eventually found the smoking gun: the exact change where Google had altered the search results for abortion. My initial reaction was a mix of excitement and shock.”
To reference the infamous phrase “alternative facts,” the change essentially used an alternative algorithm that delivers alternative search results. A special file named youtube_controversial_query_blacklist could be used to manually trigger this alternative algorithm. For any search or query that matched an entry on that blacklist, YouTube would blacklist the normal search results, switching over to the alternative search results instead.
The smoking gun I had discovered was a change that added two entries to that blacklist: “abortion” and “abortions”. As a result of this change, searches for those terms displayed the alternative search results. The change had been made at Dec 14, 2018, 3:17 PM PST, mere hours after April Glaser of Slate had emailed YouTube.
He continued saying, “It didn’t end there. Herein lies the key point: it’s not about where the blacklist begins, but where the blacklist ends. In this case, that contrast could not be more stark: the first entry on the blacklist was added because of a mass shooting, and the last entry was added because a Slate writer complained about search results for abortion.”
Wacker concluded saying:
Sundar’s answer misled Rep. Lofgren, who responded that the potential biases of Google’s employees “has nothing to do with the algorithms and the really automated process that is the search engine that serves us.” As it turns out, the question of “what we’re going to show the user” is not dictated solely by algorithms and automated processes, and the biases of Google’s employees could have something to do with those search results.
Clearly, Google is relying on liberals to program its results ideologically instead of allowing its results to be achieved organically.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.Don't forget to Like Godfather Politics on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our friends at RepublicanLegion.com.
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