Google staffers reportedly discussed burying conservative news organizations in the company’s search function with the goal of impacting future elections – but the tech giant says nothing came out of the conversations.
Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin famously admitted in a leaked video that staffers were “upset” about President Trump’s 2016 victory over Hillary Clinton – but a bombshell report by The Daily Caller’s Peter Hasson reveals that Google staffers considered taking action.
The Daily Caller reported late Thursday that it obtained internal Google communications that show “internal Google discussions went beyond expressing remorse over Clinton’s loss to actually discussing ways Google could prevent Trump from winning again.”
A Google spokesperson told The Daily Caller that the conversations did not lead to manipulation of search results for political purposes.
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The Daily Caller reported that Google engineer Scott Byer wrote it was “an election of false equivalencies” that his company “sadly, had a hand in.” The internal emails reportedly single out conservative news organizations, such as Breitbart and The Daily Caller, as “blogs” that were “elevated next to legitimate” operations.
“I think we have a responsibility to expose the quality and truthfulness of sources – because not doing so hides real information under loud noises,” the Google staffer reportedly emailed colleagues. “Beyond that, let’s concentrate on teaching critical thinking. A little bit of that would go a long way. Let’s make sure that we reverse things in four years – demographics will be on our side.”
Other staffers pushed back, reportedly pointing out that manipulating search results isn’t the proper way to make a difference.
“Thinking that Breitbart, Drudge, etc. are not ‘legitimate news sources’ is contrary to the beliefs of a major portion of our user base is partially what got us to this mess. MSNBC is not more legit than Drudge just because Rachel Maddow may be more educated / less deplorable / closer to our views,” Google engineer Uri Dekel reportedly wrote.
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A Google spokesperson told Fox News that the report “shows that far from suppressing Breitbart and Daily Caller, we surfaced these sites regularly in our products.”
“Furthermore, it shows that we value providing people with the full view on stories from a variety of sources. Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology. Our processes and policies do not allow for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies,” the spokesperson added.
Google is in the spotlight at the moment. Earlier this week, the company was hit with a privacy complaint by a group of consumer watchdog agencies. The seven European agencies have slammed Google over what they describe as the search giant's "deceptive" location tracking for ad-targeting.
Also this week, Google's controversial Dragonfly project to build a censored search engine for China sparked an employee backlash.
Brian Flood covers the media for Fox News. Follow him on Twitter at @briansflood.