Google sometimes manually intervenes to censor, blacklist, modify, or change search results that contains content that their employees deem “hyperbolic”, “misleading”, or “offensive”. This applies both to the general search engine results and for YouTube.
This was according to a leak obtained by Breitbart, where Google’s Daniel Aaronson, from the Trust & Safety Team, explained in a discussion thread how they deal with content that doesn’t fit with their ideological agenda…
“There are subjects that are prone to hyperbolic content, misleading information, and offensive content,”
“Now, these words are highly subjective and no one denies that. But we can all agree generally, lines exist in many cultures about what is clearly okay vs. what is not okay.”
“In extreme cases where we need to act quickly on something that is so obviously not okay, the reactive/manual approach is sometimes necessary.”
So what kind of content did Google label as “offensive” or “misleading”? Pro-life content.
RT.com published an article noting that the search results for anti-abortion or pro-life videos were shuffled out of the top search results at the request of a writer from Slate. This was discovered by a Google engineer who noticed that there was a changelog for the search results after the Slate writer put in the request, with the employee saying…
“’The Slate writer said she had complained last Friday and then saw different search results before YouTube responded to her on Monday. And lo and behold, the [changelog] was submitted on Friday, December 14 at 3:17 PM.”
But this isn’t uncommon, and people have known for a while that YouTube algorithms have been modified to remove certain results, creators, or content. So much so that there’s even an extreme version of this kind of censorship known as the Limited State.
Daily Mail also had an easy to view list of the terms that Google manually adjusted in addition to making modifications to pro-life search results.
A Google spokesperson replied to Breitbart regarding the manipulation of the YouTube search results, stating…
“YouTube is a platform for free speech where anyone can choose to post videos, as long as they follow our Community Guidelines, which prohibit things like inciting violence and pornography. We apply these policies impartially and we allow both pro-life and pro-choice opinions.
“Over the last year we’ve described how we are working to better surface news sources across our site for news-related searches and topical information. We’ve improved our search and discovery algorithms, built new features that clearly label and prominently surface news sources on our homepage and search pages, and introduced information panels to help give users more authoritative sources where they can fact check information for themselves.”
But it’s not just YouTube being affected by Google’s manipulation. This is in addition to other Google results being modified to suit the company’s agenda, such as the company shadowbanning certain websites from the search results and from Google News.
There are a variety of websites that were affected by the GNews shadowban, but there was no way to know that they were shadowbanned unless certain steps were taken to check the availability of the site(s) on Google News.
All of this is happening despite Google CEO, Sunder Pichai, testifying in front of Congress claiming that they did not manually manipulate the search results.
When outright asked if Google is in some way “biased”, Pichai responded by saying…
“Congressman, it’s really important to me that we approach our work in an unbiased way. […]
“[So] no not in our approach.”
He later was asked about the manipulation of news that seemed to adversely affect Conservatives or put them at a disadvantage within the news sphere, and Pichai responded by saying…
“Congressman, I understand the frustration of seeing negative news. I see [the negative news] on me. On Google – there are times when you can search on Google that there is page after page of negative news that feeds you that. What is important here is that we use a robust methodology to reflect what is being said about any given topic at any particular time. And we try to do it objectively using a set of rubrics.
“It is in our interest to make sure we reflect what’s happening out there in the best objective manner possible.”
Based on the leaked documents, it appears as if they do not approach the search results and providing users with information in the “best objective manner possible”.
But what would one expect from a company whose employees feel that words like “family friendly” are offensive? Yes, as noted in a completely separate story on the Daily Mail, one employee apparently flipped out over the use of “family” during a meeting, with the Daily Mail sharing what was mentioned by the employee, who stated…
“The use of ‘family’ as a synonym for ‘with children’ has a long-standing association with deeply homophobic organizations. This does not mean we should not use the word ‘family’ to refer to families, but it mean we must doggedly insist that family does not imply children.
“Even the sense, ‘suitable for the whole family’, which you might think is unobjectionable, is totally wrong too. It only works if we have advance shared conception of what ‘the whole family’ is, and that is almost always used to mean a household with two adults, of opposite sex, in a romantic/sexual relationship, with two or more of their own children.”
Apparently some of Google’s employees also agreed with this person; these people were all apparently unmarried or in uncommitted relationships. One person stated…
“It smacks of the ‘family values’ agenda by the right wing which is absolutely homophobic by its very definition.”
Yes, some of the employees at Google feel it’s “homophobic” to have a healthy relationship with kids. It easily explains why the company is ideologically driven to censor content that their Left-wing employees don’t agree with.
(Thanks for the news tip Rala Cloft)