Did Google Manipulate Search for Hillary?

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SourceFed, a news and pop-culture website, has accused the world’s largest search engine of “actively altering search recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign” by filling in searches for potentially negative terms like “crimes” and “indictment” with inoffensive substitutions such as “crime reform” and “Indiana.”

“The intention is clear. Google is burying potential searches for terms that could have hurt Hillary Clinton in the primary elections over the past several months by manipulating recommendations on their site,” SourceFed’s Matt Lieberman said in a Thursday video.

“Thanks to the help of our editor Spencer Reed, SourceFed has discovered that Google has been actively altering search recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign so quietly that we were unable to see it for what it was until today,” said SourceFed’s Matt Lieberman in the video.

Google Manipulate Search for Hillary?

For example, when typing “Hillary Clinton cri,” Google’s auto-complete function brings up as its top choice “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” even though competing search engines Bing and Yahoo show the most popular search topics are “Hillary Clinton criminal charges” and “Hillary Clinton crime.”

While that could reflect legitimate differences in the engines’ algorithms, Mr. Lieberman said that a search of “Hillary Clinton crime reform” on Google trends showed that “there weren’t even enough searches of term to build a graph on the site.”

Google spoke out on the issue:

Google autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause. Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how autocomplete works.

Autocomplete, Google claims, won’t show “a predicted query that is offensive of disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person’s name.”

 

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