Intentional Google Search Bias Paper Published

My new research paper A Method of Google Search Bias Quantification and Its Applications in Climate Debate and General Political Discourse is published in WUWT.  Most people observe that Google search results on political topics are left leaning.  But, it was hard to determine whether such leaning was a simple reflection of the left/liberal cultural dominance on the web, or if the Google search team intentionally (or “artificially”) biased rankings.  This paper demonstrates and even quantifies such intentional or artificial bias.

After publication, I found a 2016 study that also shows that Google results are artificially biased in favor of liberal ideology and Democratic Party candidates: Google bias in search results; 40% lean left or liberal (Matt Bentley / CanIRank.com).  From the Matt Bentley study:

“Does it make sense, for example, that someone researching “Republican platform” should be presented only the official text of the platform and seven left-leaning results highly critical of that platform, with zero results supporting it?”

“… we would expect top ranked search results to have more external links compared to lower ranked search results.  Instead, pages demonstrating a left or far left political slant made it into the top results with significantly fewer external links compared to pages rated balanced. Pages with a right-leaning slant needed significantly more links to make it into the top results.”

“According to recent Google findings, online search is the resource that 87% of the population turns to first when a question arises. Online search plays a particularly prominent role in the democratic process during election season. During the 2012 election cycle, a survey of persuadable voters revealed that 49% get their news about campaigns and the election online, largely through search engines like Google, and that these voters generally trust the information they find online. Top search results are broadly perceived as being the most accurate and authoritative by members of the public with the first five search results accounting for an estimated 67% of all clicks and the first three results alone accounting for over 55% of all clicks. In their 2015 study, Robert Epstein and Ronald Robertson concluded that the order of search results can have a big impact on voter behavior — and in the event of a close election, this effect could even be profound enough to determine the outcome of the election.”

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