How Google, Facebook and Twitter Skew Internet News Against Conservatives
Ever notice when you search for news or politics on Google News that the majority of search results tend to be articles from left-leaning publications? A search on Hillary Clinton today returns almost entirely articles by left-leaning publications on the first page of results. But is that just because liberals are more likely to search for stories about Hillary and are also more likely to prefer liberal sources? Maybe the Google result is just reflecting user preferences. Well, let’s try it for Donald Trump. I just did and got a similar result.
Fox News didn’t show up in either search, never mind that it’s a top ten news website with the most most popular television news network in America, and one that has been covering Trump’s presidential campaign obsessively. Only after clicking “Explore In-Depth” and scrolling well down the page did a Fox News story appear, in the 12th position, just below an article by Bloomington, Indiana’s Herald Times.
Similarly, the Google News homepage also contains a long list of left-leaning news sources first. These include The Washington Post, CNN, ABC, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Washington Post, USA Today, CNN, ABC and Reuters. There is not a single right-leaning news source in its list of top headlines. You have to scroll way down the page to the Business section, where the very last article is from The Wall Street Journal, whose news division often tilts left despite — or perhaps because of — its ties to Wall Street.
Where are the conservative sites in the top search results? Google, which accounts for close to 65 percent of all internet searches, asserts that it uses computer algorithms to identify top stories. The algorithm gives different weights to news sites, ranking them in order of relevance and stature — and is very likely giving conservative news sites less weight.
Google Doodles in the Left Margin
Need more convincing? Google frequently changes its home page to celebrate some event or occasion associated with a particular day. Known as Google Doodles, the decorations frequently recognize left-leaning events, and rarely if ever right-leaning events. Only a couple of traditional historic events are recognized: Thanksgiving and Veterans Day. Google Doodles does not recognize Memorial Day, Flag Day or religious holidays other than non-religious references to Christmas. The Independence Day doodle is usually politically correct and Easter is ignored (other than once in 2000). In 2013, Google celebrated Cesar Chavez Day on Easter, a new annual day created by Obama.
Some of the occasions Google recognized last year include International Women’s Day, Earth Day and the birthday of radical environmentalist Rachel Carson. That was just last year. There have been many other left-leaning occasions recognized by Google in previous years, such as the birthday of anthropologist and Darwinist Mary Leakey. Yet Google asserts, “Events for Doodle are selected based on their cultural impact or historical significance.”
But surely the day that Christendom celebrates the resurrection of Christ (Easter) is historically significant, right? It’s the world’s largest religion and even Google still dates its calendar from the birth of Jesus. Apparently there’s something else that factors into their decision-making process.
The influence of Google Doodles cannot be underestimated, especially when it comes to children. In public schools, important (Western) historical holidays in the schools tend to get short-shrift. Yet kids access Google usually every day. They are getting overwhelming signs that those Google Doodle events are the most important events to celebrate each year, not the most cherished events in our history. There is no Google Doodle date commemorating the Boston Tea Party, the American Revolution, or Apollo 11 landing on the moon, to name just a few. Boston Tea Party Day was December 16. The Bill of Rights Day was December 15. For more occasions Google could have selected, visit Checkiday.
Additionally, conservative groups frequently report having their ads turned down by Google. Most of the other big internet sites have similar biases, including Bing and Yahoo.
Facebook’s algorithms give preference to liberal content over conservative content, ensuring that more liberal posts will show up in any given user’s news feed. According to Personal Liberty Digest, traffic to their Facebook page went way down in 2014 due to Facebook algorithm changes, as left-leaning sites such as Slate and The Huffington Post that are part of the BuzzFeed network reported great increases in traffic. More conservative posts than liberal posts are stripped out from view in others’ news feeds.
Facebook’s Trending News feature is also biased. John Jalsevac at Live Action News observed how the undercover Planned Parenthood videos were featured in Trending News, but not in a way that readers would click and go to the videos themselves. Instead, readers were routed to two articles Planned Parenthood had posted on its Facebook page.
“Someone at Facebook’s headquarters is responsible for coming up with a one-line description of why a particular term is ‘trending,'” Jalsevac writes, “and then (it would appear), choosing which posts to give pride of place when a user clicks on that trending topic.” By now it should surprise no one that the Facebook employee apparently chose to direct people to Planned Parenthood to get the organization’s spin on the videos rather than to the videos themselves or to some news site that was at least attempting to offer an objective description of the controversial videos and Planned Parenthood’s reaction.
Facebook frequently removes conservative posts and bans conservatives, drawing a line where it thinks content is too extreme. The Examiner reported several recent incidents where conservatives were banned from Facebook. In fact, “In a recent interview with Sean Hannity, Jennifer Thalasinos, the widow of a victim of the San Bernadino terrorist attack, Nicholas Thalasinos, commented that her husband — a conservative who she believes was targeted for his views by the Muslim shooters — was previously attacked on Facebook, resulting in him being blocked for extended periods of time.”
Twitter also frequently bans conservative users, known as “Twitter Gulag.” Left-wing activists target outspoken conservatives and report them en masse to Twitter, claiming they are abusing its policies — usually claiming “harassment” — and Twitter often complies and deactivates their accounts. One conservative who was banned, Todd Kincannon, fought back in 2013 by forming the Twitter Gulag Defense Network and creating a list of tips to avoid being banned. He is still banned from Twitter three years later. Another outspoken conservative, Robert Stacy McCain, was just banned this past week, with no explanation given.
Prominent conservatives Milo Yiannopoulos, tech editor at Breitbart, and John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, recently lost their verified checks (a blue checkmark that indicates the account of a public figure is authentic), which is considered a step toward eventually banning an account. The conservative actor Adam Baldwin was temporarily banned after joking about #GamerGate, a hashtag he created for gamers fed up with political correctness.
Yiannopoulos reports that Twitter maintains a blacklist and whitelist. “Accounts on the whitelist are prioritised in search results, even if they’re not the most popular among users,” he says. “Meanwhile, accounts on the blacklist have their posts hidden from both search results and other users’ timelines.” Yiannopoulous suspects Twitter is purposely doing this during an election year in order to silence prominent conservative voices. On the day the Supreme Court struck down all laws against same-sex marriage, Twitter turned all mentions of #lovewins in tweets into a rainbow heart.
Unfortunately, the left has been indoctrinating Americans for years through its chokehold on the media and public education. Tech workplaces are now full of progressives. Every political contribution from a Twitter employee in recent years went to a progressive candidate. About 90 percent of Google employee donations go to progressives. Apple, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Amazon and Facebook have similar skewed contribution patterns.
Conservatives rejoiced when the internet arrived, giving them alternative ways to get news out so they could bypass the dominant left-leaning newspapers and TV networks. Small bloggers grew into journalists and full-fledged conservative news sources emerged like Townhall and CNS News. However, as the internet developed, a handful of giant companies have acquired an inordinate amount of power over what people see on it — including news and politics. About 63 percent of Facebook and Twitter users get news from those sites. Google dominates web search. And all three tilt heavily left.
What to Do?
There are a few areas where conservatives hold some ground. The Koch Brothers fund Americans for Prosperity, which excels at email campaigns. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze is the second most popular political news site in the country, and the conservative Drudge Report is third. In fact, nine of the top 15 sites are right-leaning. Unfortunately, don’t expect to find their articles in the top results of a Google News search. Ultimately, the right needs its own top tech companies that can rival the big internet companies — the equivalent in the internet realm to how Fox News emerged and took on the dominant left-leaning TV news.