DID THEY OR DIDN’T THEY? Google Caught Whitewashing Autocomplete, Manipulating Search Results to Favor Hillary ClintonPosted: June 10, 2016
Common search terms associated with Clinton appear to have been scrubbed from Google as the tech giant has been accused of manipulating its autocomplete results to favor the Democratic presidential candidate.
“While researching for a wrap-up on the June 7 Presidential Primaries, we discovered evidence that Google may be manipulating autocomplete recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton,” SourceFed wrote. “If true, this would mean that Google Searches aren’t objectively reflecting what the majority of Internet searches are actually looking for, possibly violating Google’s algorithm.”
For example, when searching Hillary Clinton “cri,” Google finishes the phrase as “crime reform.” On Yahoo, the result is “criminal charges.” On Google’s own trend website, there were not enough searches for Hillary Clinton and “crime reform” to build a graph of the results.
Typing Hillary Clinton and “ind” gives Google users results on Hillary Clinton and Indiana. On Microsoft’s Bing search engine, a user gets Hillary Clinton and “indictment,” yielding results for the FBI investigation into Clinton’s private email server.
Just putting the name “Hillary Clinton” into Google, you are directed towards searches for her “twitter,” “email,” “age,” and “speech.”
Notably missing is the second top result on Bing, which is of her potential “indictment.”
Here are 10 more examples of questionable Google autocompletes for Clinton:
1. “Hillary Clinton anti…”
Bing gets you antichrist, antisemitic, and anti gay marriage.
Google gets you “anti obama ad.”
2. “Hillary Clinton vin…”
Bing gets you vindictive and a variety of searches focusing on the death of Vince Foster.
Adam Rogers writes: Imagine an election—A close one. You’re undecided. So you type the name of one of the candidates into your search engine of choice. (Actually, let’s not be coy here. In most of the world, one search engine dominates; in Europe and North America, it’s Google.) And Google coughs up, in fractions of a second, articles and facts about that candidate. Great! Now you are an informed voter, right? But a study published this week says that the order of those results, the ranking of positive or negative stories on the screen, can have an enormous influence on the way you vote. And if the election is close enough, the effect could be profound enough to change the outcome.
In other words: Google’s ranking algorithm for search results could accidentally steal the presidency. “We estimate, based on win margins in national elections around the world,” says Robert Epstein, a psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology and one of the study’s authors, “that Google could determine the outcome of upwards of 25 percent of all national elections.”
Epstein’s paper combines a few years’ worth of experiments in which Epstein and his colleague Ronald Robertson gave people access to information about the race for prime minister in Australia in 2010, two years prior, and then let the mock-voters learn about the candidates via a simulated search engine that displayed real articles.
One group saw positive articles about one candidate first; the other saw positive articles about the other candidate. (A control group saw a random assortment.) The result: Whichever side people saw the positive results for, they were more likely to vote for—by more than 48 percent. The team calls that number the “vote manipulation power,” or VMP. The effect held—strengthened, even—when the researchers swapped in a single negative story into the number-four and number-three spots. Apparently it made the results seem even more neutral and therefore more trustworthy.
But of course that was all artificial—in the lab. So the researchers packed up and went to India in advance of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, a national campaign with 800 million eligible voters. (Eventually 430 million people voted over the weeks of the actual election.) “I thought this time we’d be lucky if we got 2 or 3 percent, and my gut said we’re gonna get nothing,” Epstein says, “because this is an intense, intense election environment.” Voters get exposed, heavily, to lots of other information besides a mock search engine result. Read the rest of this entry »
Ministry of Public Security: China’s crackdown on online forums to prevent fraud and limit ‘spreading of rumors’.
China’s Ministry of Public Security will set up the units at key websites and Internet companies to help them prevent crimes such as fraud and “spreading of rumors,” China’s official Xinhua news service said late Tuesday.
China’s Ministry of Public Security didn’t say which companies will have the new police units. China’s Internet sector is dominated by three companies: e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gaming and messaging company Tencent Holdings Ltd. and search-engine provider Baidu Inc.
Neither the companies nor the ministry responded immediately to requests for comment Wednesday. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the cyberpolice units would apply to international, as well as domestic, tech firms operating in China.