Nice to see the Liberal/Progressive bias from Google on a sitting US Senator

by Skip

More on that stuff about Google “fact checking” sites but this time on a Republican US Senator – would they do this to, say, Dick Durban (D-IL) or Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)?  Hardly: Google refers to Republican senator David Perdue as ‘lying, unscrupulous politician.

Google on Senator David Perdue R-GA

Wikipedia was cited as the source. It appears that the senator’s Wikipedia page was changed to include such wording, but the description was restored to its original wording three minutes later, according to a revision history page.

“Information that appears in the Knowledge Graph comes from a variety of sources from across the web, and we typically require factual validation from multiple sources. Occasionally, we can get this wrong, and in this case, our system was able to address the issue quickly,” a Google spokesperson told the Washington Examiner.

So much for having rock solid background information from sources that are “unbiased”.  Those of us that play in these areas know that the “fact checkers” used by Google, Facebook, Twitter, and others all seem to skew quite Left.  In the case of Wikipedia, it is rather well known that Left of Center folks have become Wiki-editors and put a Progressive slant into articles especially if they are ones that touch on politics or a Progressive agenda.  It is what it is.  Google got caught carrying it forward.  Not that it minded, I bet.

Is he a lying, unscrupulous politician?  He may be, he might not be – that’s not the issue here.  As Google purports to be an honest broker of information and search, is this something it should be doing?  And certainly, it is putting a cast on someone (just like it is doing with Conservative sites) that is unfavorable simply because (as we have all seen in the news) it hates Conservatives (re: James Dinsmore).

However, in my mind, it is just another example of how the online space is becoming more and more biased against the Right.  “Don’t do Evil” is Google’s motto – methinks that has gone by the boards (and quite some time ago).  I’ve switched to using DuckDuckGo a lot – why continue to give my eyeballs to some entity that hates my guts?

(H/T: Washington Examiner, Powerline)

Leave a Comment

  • Nick Martin

    Wow, as someone who knows a thing or two about computers, I would have thought you’d understand how this works. There’s nobody at Google manually curating your search results. This can, and does happen, for many non-political results as well. Just try searching for “owner of the Jets.” The answer Google returns is “Tom Brady.” Is there some vast pro-New England conspiracy at work here? No. I’m sorry an algorithm hurt your feelings Skip.

    • granitegrok

      The point was not the algorithm itself but the human control source that the algorithm uses. The second point was that Google is still responsible, regardless of the methodology used, for the results it displays. It also, for a third point, once again reinforces GIGO – garbage in, garbage out.

      Again, however, Google is still at fault, be it human or by automation, for choosing an input source into its algorithm that can be quite biased based on biases of the input information (in this case, a human editor at Wikipedia).

      Sorry I wasn’t clearer and no, my feelings weren’t hurt. Just pointing out that Google, by its methodology, confirmed what has earlier been seen, noted, and added into the perceived confirmation (ahem) bias by non-Progresslives/Liberals.

      • Nick Martin

        So, it sounds as if your complaint is that Google uses Wikipedia as a source? Or is your problem with Wikipedia itself? In either case, the content and therefor the search results reflect the collective view of the user — not any one editor with a specific bias. Google only references Wikipedia in its “Answer” highlight because its algorithm has identified that a high percentage of people click on Wikipedia after searching the term on Google. If a high number of people clicked on a different source, Google would display a different “Answer” result. Even Google, with its vast workforce and new fact checking team cannot manually review algorithm results for every possible query. On the other hand, if your complaint is with Wikipedia, I still think your blame is misplaced. Anyone can edit Wikipedia — it’s a crowd-sourced site and isn’t really intended to be a consistent unbiased reference. That’s why any grade school teacher tells his or her students they cannot use Wikipedia as a source. There are plenty of examples of outrageous Wikipedia edits that have nothing to do with politics. And again, no one editor with a bias reviews Wikipedia changes. So, I’m still failing to see your point.

        • Bryan W

          Wikipedia is a poor source. That is known even in liberal college circles. Poor citation methods, clearly biased editors (try to correct information on Glenn Beck or Mark Levin – you’ll be run out on a rail). Take a look at the “active remediation remedies” on any page relating to the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Or God help you Climate Change. Massive progressive bias doesn’t even begin to cut it.

          • Nick Martin

            Of course it’s a poor source! It’s crowd sourced — meaning the source is whoever happens to show up and make changes. But that’s a far cry from being biased. It’s like saying the community bulletin board is biased because only elderly people use it. It’s not the bulletin board that’s biased, it can only reflect the bias of people who use it. Don’t like the bias? Ignore it or start editing it. But damnit, stop complaining about free speech.

          • Nick Martin

            I’d also like to point out that Skip conveniently omitted an important point from the original he cited. From the Examiner: “…but the description was restored to its original wording three minutes later.” That’s three whole minutes before the problem was fixed. Tell me Skip, if you gave the entire world access to edit any and all content on GraniteGrok, do you suppose you’d be able to run around and correct all factual changes within three minutes?

          • granitegrok

            Long enough to have created a problem for both Google and Wikipedia. And I would NEVER give “the world” access to the ‘Grok – a bogus line of reasoning..

          • granitegrok

            Your analogy of an elderly bulletin board is a distraction – Google using Wikepedia is not the same animal. And Wikipedia and Google both skew Progressive – that is an undisputed fact.

            As far as “stop complaining about free speech” – so Google/Wikipedia/Nick Martin gets free speech but the rest of us don’t? Sorry, the ability to argue about something IS the essence of free speech – and look at you; you wish to take mine away at this point for merely commenting that Google got caught with its pants down (biasly speaking)?

          • Nick Martin

            Your “undisputed fact” is exactly what I’m disputing. And you’re right, I take back the comment saying you should stop complaining about free speech. Go ahead and argue, cry, complain and play the victim all you want, that’s the essence of free speech. And, once again, it’s not Google that’s biased in any way. Their algorithm is only reacting mathmatically to the majority of user input.

          • granitegrok

            Missed my James Dinsmore reference, right?

          • granitegrok

            Really – not biased in anyway? Tell that to my friend, John Hawkins: http://granitegrok.com/blog/2018/01/sad-farewell-rightwingnews

          • Bryan W

            If you admit it is a poor source, it is widely known to be a poor source – especially on controversial issues where facts are in dispute, and you’re a big company like Google that makes its living on your search engine, why would you link to such a poor source in such a prominent piece of real estate on your search results page? Maybe because a) you don’t care, b) because the skew of Wikipedia matches your own, or c) some other unfathomable reason?

            It makes no sense UNLESS you (Google) agree with what they are doing. Otherwise, we would have good basis to “question whether [Google] understands how the internet actually works.”

          • Nick Martin

            The answer is C, though it’s not really unfathomable. I already explained this, but here it goes again. Google’s search engine strategy is to use algorithms to essentially “guess” what searchers are looking for. It does this by tracking what people do and where they click after they search for a term. When the algorithms recognize a pattern — such as a high percent of people clicking on a Wikipedia article — its algorithms promote that page (promote, meaning, display it higher in search results). If people keep clicking, it keeps going up. It’s a bit more complicated than that, because Google tracks other user activity and feeds these into the algorithm as well, but there’s no conscious decision by a human to display certain pages higher than others and there’s nobody determining if a site matches any skew or bias. And nobody is sitting around trying to decide if a specific page is worthy to display in its ‘valuable’ real estate — apart from the paid ads It’s all about trying to understand the intent of the person who’s using the search engine by tracking what they do after a search.

          • Bryan W

            The question isn’t what the algorithms do – we know that. The question is about their judgement on using source material from an unreliable source. They know and have known Wikipedia is unreliable for years. I have spoken with Google engineers about this. They freely admit it.

            If their algorithms are so great, they would also know that certain controversial subjects should not use Wikipedia – ever. They are easy to programmatically detect. It suits their agenda, so they do it anyway. The big, automatic, propaganda machine – taking the teachings of Goebbels to a whole new level.

          • Nick Martin

            There is no judgement on source material. The source is the entirety of the internet. Literally any page could display here (reliable or not), so long as Google users help it rank high by clicking on it. If you have a beef here, it’s with Google users who keep clicking Wikipedia and therefor promoting it.

          • granitegrok

            No, they DO pick their sources for their algorithms (those algorithms don’t quite grow themselves) and their “fact checkers”. Ditto Facebook. Ditto Twitter.

            Your statement of “no judgement” is absolutely wrong – and you are losing this argument.

          • Nick Martin

            The number of pages Google crawls does grow without any manual interaction. There’s no human involved in adding new sites to Google. I’d love to know where you’re getting your info, because I’m pretty sure you’re just making it up. And, please note, DuckDuckGo displayed the same exact text about Perdue via Wikipedia on its top section too.

          • granitegrok

            Adding “fact checking” was a new feature and has nothing directly to do with its main function of web crawling and it is always searching out new pages – that’s old hat news.. Google hardly ever changes its pages and does so ONLY after intensive research and testing – at least for the actual search. Thus, this is a NEW feature with additional algorithms – human derived as their AI isn’t that good yet to just cook it up on its own (altho there may be some in it). This has been in the news for a while – catch up.

            Oh, to answer your question, an MS in CS and 40 years of experience.

          • Nick Martin

            “Google hardly ever changes its pages and does so ONLY after intensive research and testing” — what does that even mean? Changes the pages it indexes? That changes constantly, by the second, automatically.

            Yes, the fact checking function is new — and not even fully implemented yet. But, I’ve yet to see an example where it has excluded something factual. And clearly, as the text related to Perdue and Tom Brady show, it doesn’t affect all search. So are you now trying to say that the Google fact checking function SHOULD have flagged the Perdue article?

            And, which question was that, exactly? If we’re going to talk experience, I get paid to ensure content shows up prominently in Google searches, and know a bit about how that happens.

        • sb

          But doesn’t Google offer paid service to put your search up top? Some kind of sponsored content thing?

  • https://infogalactic.com/info/Main_Page -NOT Wikipedia
    Just sayin’
    While I’m at it..
    https://duckduckgo.com/ -NOT Google

    • Nick Martin

      Funny, Infogalactic uses the same crowd sourced model as Wikipedia, meaning literally anyone can edit articles. So, the exact same thing could happen there. Also funny, DuckDuckGo’s highlight section at the top right references the exact same Wikipedia article as Google — meaning it also displayed the same exact language indicating Perdue was a lying, unscrupulous politician (before it was fixed on Wiki 3 minutes later). There’s nothing on either of these platforms that is more or less biased than Google or Wikipedia.

  • mer

    “skew quite life”. Is that like being “a little pregnant”

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