News

U.S.

Google Changes Algorithms Under Pressure From Business, Government

A Google logo is seen at the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., November 1, 2018. (Stephen Lam/Reuters)

Google manually tinkers with search results at the behest of outside influences, contrary to the mammoth company’s public statements that its algorithms operate free of any editorial input from its employees, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation.

The twenty-year-old company’s founding philosophy of “organizing the world’s information,” appears to have been compromised in recent years as Google has increasingly allowed business concerns, special interest groups, and governments to have a say in controlling search results, the investigation found.

Google reportedly amplifies big business over small business and promotes the websites of Facebook and Amazon. At one point, Google also altered its algorithms to favor international e-commerce company eBay Inc., in direct contradiction to the search engine’s insistence that it never makes such moves.

The search engine behemoth also manually modifies news results and downplays controversial topics such as abortion or immigration in auto-complete suggestions. Google keeps blacklists of certain websites to eliminate or hide, including some that are not illegal or spam and do not contain copyright infringement.

Google employees are allowed to lobby for particular changes in search results, including the topic of vaccinations and autism.

Last year, Google altered its algorithms more than 3,200 times, compared to only 2,400 times in 2017 and around 500 changes back in 2010, the investigation found

Google executives have testified the opposite under oath to Congress and elsewhere, saying the company does not allow its algorithms to be tainted by outside forces and does not keep blacklists of particular sites.

“We do not use human curation to collect or arrange the results on a page,” Google said in a statement.

Google pushed back on the Journal investigation’s conclusions as well.

“We do today what we have done all along, provide relevant results from the most reliable sources available,” a spokesperson said.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc. boasts a $30 billion annual profit.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

The FBI’s Corrupt Cops

White-collar criminals should hope for one thing this Christmas: that they get to live under the Horowitz rules. Michael Horowitz has testified that he found no evidence of political bias on the part of the decision makers who, under the Obama administration, relied on hilariously implausible “evidence” ... Read More
Law & the Courts

The FBI’s Corrupt Cops

White-collar criminals should hope for one thing this Christmas: that they get to live under the Horowitz rules. Michael Horowitz has testified that he found no evidence of political bias on the part of the decision makers who, under the Obama administration, relied on hilariously implausible “evidence” ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Elections

Diversity Panic Hits the Democratic Field

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. An Asian guy, two black guys, three white women (one of whom spent much of her life claiming to be Native American), a Pacific Islander woman, a gay guy, a Hispanic guy, two elderly Caucasian Jews (one a billionaire, the other a socialist), a self-styled Irishman, and a ... Read More
Film & TV

A Film for All Christians

‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,” wrote George Eliot in Middlemarch, “and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” The passage provides the title ... Read More
Film & TV

A Film for All Christians

‘The growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts,” wrote George Eliot in Middlemarch, “and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” The passage provides the title ... Read More
White House

Is Trump the Only Adult in the Room?

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth. But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election. Do we remember the effort to ... Read More
White House

Is Trump the Only Adult in the Room?

Donald Trump certainly is mercurial at times. He can be uncouth. But then again, no president in modern memory has been on the receiving end of such overwhelmingly negative media coverage and a three-year effort to abort his presidency, beginning the day after his election. Do we remember the effort to ... Read More