Internet users who go to Google Search for their news are much more likely to get news with a left-leaning perspective than anything else, according to a new report.
The report from the media technology group AllSides reviewed Google News’ homepage and search engine results over two weeks. On its website, the group reported its findings.
“Google News and Google News search results have a strong preference for media outlets that have a perspective that is from the left of the US political spectrum,” it reported.
The site reported that in the period from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5, the “overall bias of Google News” was about 65 percent toward the left; about 20 percent toward the center and about 16 percent to the right.
That timeframe was also when President Donald Trump was using his Twtter account to blast Google.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of …
“results on ‘Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Trump tweeted in late August.
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
According to the AllSides report, not only did Google show a bias for the left, it gave left-learning news greater prominence.
On average, the report said, left-leaning news was almost always one of the top two results displayed. News from the center of the political spectrum was less visible, but was usually in the top five or six results, the report said.
As for the political right? The report said that most of the time “users have to scroll down the window on their computer screen before they see their first news article from the right.”
The report tried to analyze what happened when news from the left competed with news from other viewpoints. The left won just about every time.
The report said that 91 percent of the time when “there was bias of one political slant over another in that specific case,” the left won over the right. When the competition was between the center and the left, the left’s dominance was still strong at 80 percent.
The report stopped short of saying Google rigged the outcome.
“This apparent bias could easily be the natural and unintended consequence of its algorithms and the fact that most news outlets, as well as most journalists, have political views that represent the left side of the US political spectrum. Online news consumers are younger and lean farther Left than the average American, and that directly impacts which articles Google’s algorithm selects and how high it places them on the page,” the report said.
“This study does not suggest that there is intentional favoritism for media sources from the left, nor does this study suggest the opposite. It only demonstrates that the resulting choice of links that Google News provides do have a significant bias in favor of the left,” it added.
When Trump was complaining about Google’s search results, the technology giant denied it “set a political agenda.”
“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” Google said in a statement, according to Reuters. “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”
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