08:46 GMT13 April 2021
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    Newly leaked Google correspondence has yet again showed partisan bias among the company's employees. Speaking to Sputnik, cyber security analysts shared their views on the accusations against the IT giant and the alleged attempts by Google workers to "weaponize" the company's products to target a right-wing agenda.

    "The newly released leaked emails, which demonstrate Google employees plotting to ban Breitbart from Google AdSense, show again the God-like power companies like Google have in modern life", said Kevin Curran, professor of cyber security at the Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment at Ulster University.

    Breitbart reported on 10 December that judging from leaked Google communication, the company's employees had sought to block the media outlet from Google AdSense less than one month after President Donald Trump assumed his position.

    Citing emails "leaked exclusively to Breitbart News," the media outlet highlighted that "a group of Google employees, with encouragement from the tech giant's director of monetization" had planned "to strike at Breitbart News' revenue" under the unfounded pretext of alleged "hate speech" and "fake news."

    It is known that Google, one of the leaders of digital ads, accounted for 42.2 per cent of the market in 2017 and 37.2 per cent in 2018.

    "Here we have a company with employees who'd seen to remove the ads from a company, which relies on the dominant search engine of the Internet", Curran told Sputnik. "Removal from the search ad market on Google would severely damage their business. It seems that Google employees were seeking to weaponize Google search for left-wing political purposes."

    The professor explained that while firms specializing in Internet-related services and products do need to monitor online services for "fake news, bullying, hate speech and terrorist activities," "there is however lack of intelligence in the best artificial intelligent filtering algorithms, so most of the IT giants employ human moderators".

    "Here however is a perfect example of humans seeking to punish sites which conflict with their politics," the academic pointed out. "There is no simple solution to this however what is crucial is that we have transparency with the decisions that the 'captains of the Internet' make".

    He noted that he "personally understood how rogue individuals in any company can seek to impose their world views on company policy."

    "However, what is unforgivable is a company culture that turns a blind eye, and the only way to police this is through transparency," the academic added.

    Lars Hilse, a digital strategy consultant from Germany, holds a different view.

    "That is more of a philosophical discussion", he said. "Breitbart is/was a paying customer. And since these are advertisements, I can decide as a company whether or not I want to have such advertisers show up. Therefore I don't understand the fuss. Totally different story if they'd prevented Breitbart from showing up in their organic search results".

    According to Hilse, "if I as a company decide that I don't want the advertisements of a company in my publication, then that is my business, not bias".

    "Again… different story if they had manipulated the search results, which the article delivers no evidence of," he insisted.

    It is not the first time that conservative media have accused Google of a left-leaning bias. According to The Daily Caller, the leaked emails have actually become the third case, indicating Google employees' incentives to "weaponize the company's products for left-wing political purposes".

    In late November. Peter Hasson of The Daily Caller reported that the Google communications obtained by the media outlet showed that a group of the company's workers discussed ways to prevent Donald Trump from winning again after Hillary Clinton's resounding loss in 2016. Specifically, the group considered "burying" The Daily Caller and Breitbart, the leading conservative media outlets, in the company's search function.

    Before that, in September 2018, Hasson wrote that after Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13769, titled Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States, commonly known as the "travel ban," Google workers allegedly mulled over ways "to manipulate search results in order to push back against the president's order." The reporter quoted the Google employees' emails obtained by Daily Caller co-founder Tucker Carlson.

    The latest exposure took place just a day before Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivered his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee. Speaking to American lawmakers, Pichai insisted that he runs Google "without political bias."

    The views and opinions expressed by the speakers do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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