Friday, September 21, 2018

American oligarchs dictate what you can know....

Internal Google documents reveal discussions of biasing search results against Trump travel ban

Thomas Lifson

It must be heady to be a senior executive at Google, the fabulously profitable king of Silicon Valley, and the biggest source of information in the world.  Tucker Carlson (below) calls it "the most powerful company in the history of the world"[i].  Google can control what information becomes available to those searching for it, so it is not an exaggeration to suggest that it can heavily influence voting behavior, and therefore influence decision-makers in democratically elected governments.
Thus, any systematic effort on the part of Google to bias search results is of great concern, placing substantial political power in the hands of an entity that can serve its own interests – for example, the availability of work visas for foreign nationals it would like to employ for lower compensation than Americans might demand.
Yesterday, two media outlets, the Wall Street Journal and Tucker Carlson, revealed that they had seen internal Google emails that seem to confirm that the company openly discussed advancing its own interests in the matter of visas via biasing search results.  There was some concern expressed by one P.R. executive about being perceived as politically biased, and in response to media inquiries, Google flat-out denied that it has ever biased its search results, calling the emails "brainstorming" – as if open discussion of an idea that might be illegal (in-kind political contributions, for instance) is no big deal.
I must note that of late, when I search various topics related to conservative concerns, Google search results contrast sharply with those from other search engines, such as DuckDuckGo and even Bing (owned by Microsoft), providing me almost entirely progressive and left sources on the first page.  But this is impressionistic evidence, awaiting more systematic research to be useful.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal, John D. McKinnon and Douglas MacMillan explain the emails and their context:

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