Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Forget the Russians. Google is the Biggest Threat to Free Elections

 

During the first Democratic debate, Tulsi Gabbard got noticed. Quickly she spiked to be the most “Googled” topic. During this spike, Google blocked Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign ads and she is now suing Google over this.

Meanwhile, in another part of the web-universe: Steven Crowder discovered that when people used Google to search for his videos by name, his videos didn’t come up on the search. When many of his fans pointed out that they were able to successfully search for his videos, he made a discovery. If the person doing the search was in the United States, his videos didn’t come up. Everywhere else in the world the same search produced links to his videos.

This past weekend Tulsi Gabbard was back in the news because of her spat with Hillary. Once again, she spiked way up in Google searches. During this spike, Crowder did some research. He found that searches for Tulsi Gabbard did not yield her ads if the search was in the United States. Searches performed anywhere else in the world, where people could not vote for her, brought up Gabbard ads.

In short, Google is doing all it can to influence the outcome of the Democratic primary election. This should disturb you, even if you don’t like Tulsi Gabbard. I don’t like her polices and would never vote for her. Still, I find this to be very disturbing.

I know Google is private and as every right to do this. Therefore, we need to express enough outrage that they will be forced to change their ways. This post is my attempt to do so.

 

Published in Elections
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There are 26 comments.

  1. RushBabe49 Thatcher

    Good idea. When I get home from work, I will reblog this on RushBabe49.com (with your permission).

    • #1
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • Like
  2. Stad Thatcher

    Ditch Google and use DuckDuckGo or some other alternative . . .

    • #2
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:26 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  3. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible Post author

    Stad (View Comment):

    Ditch Google and use DuckDuckGo or some other alternative . . .

    I wish it were that easy. Google is intertwined in much more than just internet searched from their website. They run my phone (Android), and most searches done on other website are done through Google. It wouldn’t surprise me if Ricochet uses Google when you use the search feature at the top of the page you are currently looking at. If you are using the internet, you are using Google.

    • #3
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:48 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  4. Jon1979 Lincoln

    It’s why the woke left is going after Facebook and not Google, because they see Facebook as not being competent/diligent enough in censoring the things in their mind that need to be censored (Dennis Prager could add to Crowder’s complaint — his PragerU videos aren’t just hampered by Google’s search algorithms, they’re banned outright by Google’s YouTube platform. It’s why an anti-trust effort to separate Google’s search engine from the rest of its subsidiary companies wouldn’t be such a bad idea).

    • #4
    • October 23, 2019, at 6:48 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  5. DonG Coolidge

    Maybe Tulsi is very bad at politics and is specifically buying ads to run in front of people that cannot vote for her. Or, maybe Google is screwing her.

    Google is also #1 in spending on lobbying.

    Russia does not make my top-10 of international influences on US politics.
    1. international corporations
    2. Mexico
    3. China
    4. Canada
    5. Germany
    6. Saudi Arabia
    7. Guatamala
    8. Honduras
    9. S. Korea
    10. India
    ….
    23. Russia

    • #5
    • October 23, 2019, at 7:20 AM PST
    • Like
  6. KentForrester Coolidge

    I’ve been using Google for years and have never noticed a left wing bias.

    In the original post, Steven Crowder claims that Google is skewing the results against him and Tulsi Gabbard. Out of curiosity, I just typed in Tulsi Gabbard. Up came a variety of sites. These sites included a ton of information about Gabbard from a wide variety points of view.

    In fact, her website was almost at the top of the list, a site that includes a political ad for Gabbard and a plea for money.

    I would complain if I thought that Google’s results were skewed in favor of left wing causes. I just don’t see it. 

     

    • #6
    • October 23, 2019, at 7:39 AM PST
    • 1 like
  7. cdor Member

    I tend to agree with @kentforrester. I do have duckduckgo on my search, but it is basically a Google engine. I use duckduckgo for my own privacy. Tulsi came up big time just by entering her name. The tulsi2020.com is prominent (3 down from top). If Google was blocking her ad, it might just have saved her some cash, because she wouldn’t owe Google for someone clicking on her website, where they would be bombarded by requests for donations. She only owes Google if someone clicks on her ad. But what I can’t determine is what happened in the past during the Democrat debate. Steven Crowder is a different situation, as he monetizes the YOUTUBE platform. I have no experience with that.

    • #7
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  8. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible Post author

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    I’ve been using Google for years and have never noticed a left wing bias.

    In the original post, Steven Crowder claims that Google is skewing the results against him and Tulsi Gabbard. Out of curiosity, I just typed in Tulsi Gabbard. Up came a variety of sites. These sites included a ton of information about Gabbard from a wide variety points of view.

    In fact, her website was almost at the top of the list, a site that includes a political ad for Gabbard and a plea for money.

    I would complain if I thought that Google’s results were skewed in favor of left wing causes. I just don’t see it.

     

    You didn’t watch the video. The ad stoppage only happened during the few days when Tulsi was at a peak in queries. After the peak, things went back to normal. Crowder presents solid evidence of this in the video.

    You have not been paying attention if you don’t think Google is biased. Look up PragerU restricted videos on YouTube (owned by Google). Tell me if you can find even one that you feel should be restricted. Good grief, they restricted one of them because it was about the 10 Commandments.

    • #8
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:45 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  9. Richard Easton Member

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):

    KentForrester (View Comment):

    I’ve been using Google for years and have never noticed a left wing bias.

    In the original post, Steven Crowder claims that Google is skewing the results against him and Tulsi Gabbard. Out of curiosity, I just typed in Tulsi Gabbard. Up came a variety of sites. These sites included a ton of information about Gabbard from a wide variety points of view.

    In fact, her website was almost at the top of the list, a site that includes a political ad for Gabbard and a plea for money.

    I would complain if I thought that Google’s results were skewed in favor of left wing causes. I just don’t see it.

     

    You didn’t watch the video. The ad stoppage only happened during the few days when Tulsi was at a peak in queries. After the peak, things went back to normal. Crowder presents solid evidence of this in the video.

    You have not been paying attention if you don’t think Google is biased. Look up PragerU restricted videos on YouTube (owned by Google). Tell me if you can find even one that you feel should be restricted. Good grief, they restricted one of them because it was about the 10 Commandments.

    The Creepy Line documentary gives details about the bias. https://www.thecreepyline.com/

    • #9
    • October 23, 2019, at 10:13 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  10. lowtech redneck Coolidge

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    • #10
    • October 23, 2019, at 10:42 AM PST
    • Like
  11. RPD Member
    RPD

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    It’s why the woke left is going after Facebook and not Google, because they see Facebook as not being competent/diligent enough in censoring the things in their mind that need to be censored (Dennis Prager could add to Crowder’s complaint — his PragerU videos aren’t just hampered by Google’s search algorithms, they’re banned outright by Google’s YouTube platform. It’s why an anti-trust effort to separate Google’s search engine from the rest of its subsidiary companies wouldn’t be such a bad idea).

    For what it’s worth I’ve been getting a lot of Prager videos as ads on Youtube in the last few weeks.

    • #11
    • October 23, 2019, at 11:17 AM PST
    • Like
  12. RPD Member
    RPD

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    As I understand it TV and Radio over the air are regulated by the FCC and FCC licensing wheras cable networks and internet by virtue of not using the public airwaves are essentially ungoverned and only follow self imposed rules.

    • #12
    • October 23, 2019, at 11:21 AM PST
    • 1 like
  13. DonG Coolidge

    KentForrester (View Comment):
    I would complain if I thought that Google’s results were skewed in favor of left wing causes. I just don’t see it. 

    How would you see it? Google presents a single ephemeral reality to users of the internet. What is there to compare it with? An alternate reality without bias in Google advertisements? (Google controls ~40% of online ad market.) 

    • #13
    • October 23, 2019, at 11:24 AM PST
    • Like
  14. Stad Thatcher

    RPD (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    As I understand it TV and Radio over the air are regulated by the FCC and FCC licensing wheras cable networks and internet by virtue of not using the public airwaves are essentially ungoverned and only follow self imposed rules.

    I seem to remember a discussion about a distinction between a publisher (which can censor), and a privately owned but public forum (not the term used in the discussion). Most of the tech companies like Facebook, Youtube, etc. are trying to tightrope walk between the two. However, they have to pick one . . .

    • #14
    • October 23, 2019, at 11:35 AM PST
    • 1 like
  15. Jon1979 Lincoln

    RPD (View Comment):

    Jon1979 (View Comment):

    It’s why the woke left is going after Facebook and not Google, because they see Facebook as not being competent/diligent enough in censoring the things in their mind that need to be censored (Dennis Prager could add to Crowder’s complaint — his PragerU videos aren’t just hampered by Google’s search algorithms, they’re banned outright by Google’s YouTube platform. It’s why an anti-trust effort to separate Google’s search engine from the rest of its subsidiary companies wouldn’t be such a bad idea).

    For what it’s worth I’ve been getting a lot of Prager videos as ads on Youtube in the last few weeks.

    Apparently, there’s still a problem, or this PR stunt wouldn’t be scheduled to happen.

    (The key here is that Google and other others are seeking to have it both ways, in that they want their portals like YouTube to be treated legally as a common carrier, like the phone system, so they can be shielded from libel suits, but they also want to be able to have the power to edit things out. That could include things most people would consider legitimate, such as efforts to assist terrorist actions. But is also can include things where those in charge simply disagree with the ideology of a video and/or see it as helping the wrong people gain or maintain power. That’s where the overly-broad censorship needs limits. They can either have their federal protection from liability or they can be editors. They can’t have both.)

    • #15
    • October 23, 2019, at 12:14 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  16. TallCon Coolidge

    Just out of curiosity, what ads did come up instead of Gabbards? (I have the opportunity to read, not to watch.)

    And to be clear, we’re talking about ads, not search results. I’m not ruling out funny business, but the way ads get paid for and served up is complicated. There are entire companies who make a princely sum by being able to manage an effective Google campaign. It’s entirely possible to spend enough money on an ad buy in such a way that your ads will come up when your competitor is searched for. 

    I forget who the example was (think Home Depot or some other space leader) who didn’t bother on AdWords ad buys, so competitors would get the top spot in ads but all of the search results would be them. Obviously that’s not the case here, but I don’t know how the Political Campaigns run against each other on the search engine.

    And yes, all of this is very location based.

    Even when they said they were not being evil (ha!) they never said “Don’t be Complicated”.

    • #16
    • October 23, 2019, at 1:59 PM PST
    • 1 like
  17. James Lileks Contributor

    I typed in “Steven Crowder videos” and got a page that consisted of nothing but Steven Crowder videos. Gooling “tulsi gabbard” pulled up a page topped by an ad for her website.

    • #17
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:01 PM PST
    • Like
  18. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    RPD (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    As I understand it TV and Radio over the air are regulated by the FCC and FCC licensing wheras cable networks and internet by virtue of not using the public airwaves are essentially ungoverned and only follow self imposed rules.

    No. They have limited protection, provided that they comply with the safe harbor, granted in federal law, for operation as neutral platforms for content. They are protected from publisher liability under this presumed behavior. The correct answer everywhere is to call them out for illegal campaign contributions, illegal campaign activity, if they deny they are publishers, and libel and intellectual property infringement as they actually behave as publishers. Google must be firmly fixed by both horns of the dilemma they have created for themselves, as Senator Cruz mapped out two years ago.

    • #18
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:03 PM PST
    • 2 likes
  19. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    RPD (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    As I understand it TV and Radio over the air are regulated by the FCC and FCC licensing wheras cable networks and internet by virtue of not using the public airwaves are essentially ungoverned and only follow self imposed rules.

    Cable is not internet, except in its provision of data pipelines. “Internet” got a massive economic subsidy by a limited grant of safe harbor by Congress, provided they behave as neutral content platforms, not responsible for content created and passed through their systems by other users/creators/providers.

    • #19
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:06 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    Stad (View Comment):

    RPD (View Comment):

    lowtech redneck (View Comment):

    Pony Convertible:

     

    I know Google is private and as every right to do this.

    Do they? Aren’t there laws pertaining to political ads on TV and radio? What makes internet sites and search engines different?

    As I understand it TV and Radio over the air are regulated by the FCC and FCC licensing wheras cable networks and internet by virtue of not using the public airwaves are essentially ungoverned and only follow self imposed rules.

    I seem to remember a discussion about a distinction between a publisher (which can censor), and a privately owned but public forum (not the term used in the discussion). Most of the tech companies like Facebook, Youtube, etc. are trying to tightrope walk between the two. However, they have to pick one . . .

    More like they are trying to pick and choose to the benefit of their leftist corporate cultures.

    • #20
    • October 23, 2019, at 9:08 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Annefy Member

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I typed in “Steven Crowder videos” and got a page that consisted of nothing but Steven Crowder videos. Gooling “tulsi gabbard” pulled up a page topped by an ad for her website.

    I believe there is a timing issue involved. Tulsi’s google account was cancelled right after the debate when she was trending. Later reinstated …

    It happens to several people I follow on Youtube; their videos are automatically demonetized; they complain and ask for a review. Several days later (after the vast majority of views have already happened), Youtube monetizes the video.

    • #21
    • October 24, 2019, at 12:27 AM PST
    • 3 likes
  22. Annefy Member

    First site after a google search of Tulsi Gabbard:

    https://search.yahoo.com/search?ei=utf-8&fr=tightropetb&p=tulsi+gabbard+surfing+bikini&type=Y143_F11_175501_061019

     

    Dr Robert Epstein has done some fascinating research on this topic. The problem with Google, YouTube, etc is that it’s so complicated and beyond the ken of your average bear. 

    Google is like the IT guy at every company. Has the keys to the kingdom and no one in the company has the knowledge to understand what the hell he’s up to.

    • #22
    • October 24, 2019, at 12:34 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  23. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible Post author

    James Lileks (View Comment):

    I typed in “Steven Crowder videos” and got a page that consisted of nothing but Steven Crowder videos. Gooling “tulsi gabbard” pulled up a page topped by an ad for her website.

    This Crowder thing got fixed within a day after he pointed the problem out on his website. The Gabbard thing was only for the few days when she peaked in queries.

    • #23
    • October 24, 2019, at 6:15 AM PST
    • Like
  24. Pony Convertible Member
    Pony Convertible Post author

    TallCon (View Comment):

    Just out of curiosity, what ads did come up instead of Gabbards? (I have the opportunity to read, not to watch.)

    And to be clear, we’re talking about ads, not search results. I’m not ruling out funny business, but the way ads get paid for and served up is complicated. There are entire companies who make a princely sum by being able to manage an effective Google campaign. It’s entirely possible to spend enough money on an ad buy in such a way that your ads will come up when your competitor is searched for.

    I forget who the example was (think Home Depot or some other space leader) who didn’t bother on AdWords ad buys, so competitors would get the top spot in ads but all of the search results would be them. Obviously that’s not the case here, but I don’t know how the Political Campaigns run against each other on the search engine.

    And yes, all of this is very location based.

    Even when they said they were not being evil (ha!) they never said “Don’t be Complicated”.

    It was not just ads. 

    • #24
    • October 24, 2019, at 6:16 AM PST
    • Like
  25. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Last week I was looking for Jordan Peterson’s new site Think Spot and google seemed to be blocking. I tried a few different ways and the site was not listed though oddly articles about the site were showing. A bit later I was looking for something on Crowder and found the similar behavior. The issue was also for Jonah Goldberg’s new site The Dispatch and a couple other conservative sites. It is an odd behavior in that it does not block all. Example: for Crowder anything from his site was blocked and youtube but CNN or MSNBC articles about Crowder showed on the top of the page.

    • #25
    • October 24, 2019, at 6:30 AM PST
    • 1 like
  26. Stad Thatcher

    Pony Convertible (View Comment):
    I wish it were that easy.

    It is that easy.

    I still use Google for its maps and satellite views, and for searches when DDG doesn’t come up with adequate results.

    Update: I reread your comment and see you meant it’s not easy to totally divorce yourself from Google. I agree. However, I’ve done about as much as I can . . .

    • #26
    • October 26, 2019, at 7:59 AM PST
    • 2 likes