After Trump Accused Google Of Bias, Here’s How Internet Search Rankings Work | NowThis

President Trump claims Google is only
showing bad news of him. He claims search results are rigged and suppressing voices of
conservatives, which poses the question: Does Trump know how the internet works? In his latest point of focus the
President of the United States tweeted that Google
search results for Trump news shows only the viewing and reporting of fake
news media. He then added that 96% of results on Trump news are from national left wing media, CNN being prominent. But there’s a few issues with the president’s claims. Let’s begin with the 96%. This percentage was based on an
unscientific study from an article published on
conservative website PJ Media. Keyword here is unscientific. The reporter who wrote the story even
stressed in a Washington Post op-ed that her research was not scientific and only included a small sample size of 100 results which is not enough for a Fox News anchor to run with on air and called for an investigation on the
supposed rigged system. The reporter at PJ Media said that out
of her 100 search results, 96 were from left leaning organizations. Ranked by a chart from a former CBS News correspondent. But while left leaning sites
received far more hits on hot-button political issues
than right leaning sites, something to take into account is that
that number does not reflect Google search
results across the board. PJ media’s Google searches could be
completely different than President Trump’s and everyone else’s. You see, Google search results are very complex since they’re based on a series
of ever-changing algorithms, geographic specific rankings, and your own search history. So depending on where you are, how much you search for a specific
topic, and what’s trending, you will get different results every
time. And when it comes to judging the
quality of the top news stories in the search results, Google ranks them by freshness, relevancy, and authoritativeness. But what is authoritativeness, and how is that managed? Google has these bots called web
crawlers that index the entire web. But there are also human raters that
rank these stories. According to Google, raters measure authoritativeness based
on the expertise and trustworthiness of a
site. Meaning if a news organization has won
a Pulitzer Prize or has positive reviews
engagement from users, they’ll rank up top. While sites that spread hate and misinformation are given low
ratings. It’s unclear what fake news articles
showed up for Trump. But when we Google “Trump news,” some of the top results were his own tweets which in itself is an
entirely different problem. Google tends to display top tweets
relating to the topic you search for. The problem is, Twitter is not great at moderating fake
news which results in Google displaying
reporting from actual fake news websites. Google has since replied to Trump’s
claims in a statement saying searches are not used to set a political agenda and that it doesn’t bias its results
towards any political ideology. Trump has widened his line of attack on
Google, though, with a 24-second video claiming that the search engine never
promoted his State of the Union Address speech but that it would always promote
Obama’s. The video was published on Twitter with the #StopTheBias hashtag. Google quickly debunked that claim
saying it did highlight Trump’s speech on January 30th of 2018. However, it didn’t highlight his first
address to Congress, since it’s technically not a State of
the Union, and that statement checks out. Record on the internet archived website
Wayback Machine shows that Google did in fact promote Trump’s 2018 speech. So where did the photos and the video come from and most importantly are they doctored? Again, Trump might not know how the
internet works, if something seems inaccurate, people will quickly point out the
flaws. BuzzFeed, along with other individuals and organizations, have pointed out that Trump’s video shows a Google logo that was ditched in September 2015. There’s also inconsistencies with the Google Doodles the search
engine ran, and the graphics on the Trump’s video
for those specific dates. But let’s not forget that Google is not
innocent here. While we know that this is not the
search results fault, there’s still plenty concern with Google and its refusal to be fully
transparent with its inner workings. Following the claims, White House Economic Adviser
Larry Kudlow said the administration is
taking a look at Google searches. It’s unclear what sort of investigation
regulators will want to launch against Google but the Justice Department has a track
record of showing little interest in pursuing
anti-trust cases against Google. Regardless of what happens, one thing is for sure. Trump’s admiration for Google has
changed a lot from July, after regulators in Europe fined Google with $5.1 billion for anti-trust violations. That’s when he called the tech giant
one of our greatest companies.

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