13:57 GMT11 April 2021
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    Kevin Cernekee, a former Google engineer, has raised the alarm over the company's alleged plan to interfere in the 2020 presidential race to thwart Donald Trump's campaign. Since Trump's win in 2016 evidence has continued to mount showing Google's political bias and apparent manipulation of public opinion through internet tools and algorithms.

    "When President Trump won in 2016, Google executives went on stage right away and cried - literal tears streaming down their faces", Kevin Cernekee told "Fox and Friends" on 5 August. "They vowed that it would never happen again and they want to use all the power and resources they have to control the flow of information to the public and make sure that Trump loses in 2020”.

    It is not the first time that the tech giant has been accused of political bias and anti-Trump agenda. During the 2016 presidential run distinguished research psychologist Robert Epstein discovered that Google's search suggestions were biased in favour of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopeful.

    On 12 September 2018, Breitbart released a leaked Google video recorded shortly after the 2016 presidential vote that revealed the company's disappointment with Donald Trump's win and determination to “use the great strength and resources" "to continue to advance really important values". In response to Breitbart's disclosure the tech giant claimed that Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views.

    However, in April 2019, The Daily Caller exposed how Google "manipulate[ed] its search results manually, contrary to the company's official denials", adding that the tech firm maintained a blacklist preventing some right-wing websites from appearing in search results. A month later, the Columbia Journalism Review published a study indicating that the Silicon Valley giant appears to prioritise left-leaning mainstream media outlets over conservative ones in its Top Stories.

    Evidence continued to mount in June 2019, when Project Veritas, a conservative activist group published an undercover video of a Google executive, Jen Gennai, who stated that Google had been working to "prevent" the results of the 2016 vote from repeating in 2020. While in July the same group published an interview with a whistle-blower named Greg Coppola, a senior software engineer at Google, who presumed that the company had apparently "taken sides" with the Democratic Party. The engineer shredded Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s claim that the company's algorithms were politically unbiased made during his testimony before the US Congress in December 2018.

    In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo, a woman carries a fire extinguisher past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai
    © AP Photo / Ng Han Guan
    In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo, a woman carries a fire extinguisher past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai

    How Google Can Alter 10 Million Votes Via Its Algorithms

    "Google held a town hall with hundreds of top execs after the election – the recording leaked to Breitbart", says Rich Tehrani, a futurist and corporate advisor on cybersecurity in the US. "Based on the video evidence there is no question that Google did not and does not want Trump as president”.

    Tehrani refers to Google's "News Ecosystem" which gives the company the ability to shape the information the world sees, citing the tech giant's internal documents obtained by Project Veritas.

    "There is no way to make a blanket statement about all of the management of any corporation but they have made it obvious what their feelings are as a whole”.

    According to the cybersecurity advisor, since Google owns the algorithms it can do "whatever [it] like[s] to change thoughts and perception to sway votes", suggesting that about "10 million votes can be altered as a result".

    Dr Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, who exposed Google's apparent manipulation techniques during the 2016 presidential elections, shares Tehrani's concerns about the tech giant's ability to influence vote results.

    The American scholar points out that there is "overwhelming evidence of long-term political bias within Google - bias favoring liberal causes, parties, and candidates".

    "According to my calculations, Google alone has been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world for several years now", Dr Epstein says. "My research also suggests that Google and Facebook are also deliberately and systematically impacting the thinking and behavior of at least 2.5 billion people worldwide - soon to be more than 4 billion - without people knowing and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace".

    Google Throws Weight Behind Left-Wing NGOs

    Besides weaponising specific algorithms to allegedly thwart the conservative agenda the Silicon Valley giant had been earlier spotted supporting left-wing groups such as Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The group is known for including conservative, Christian and anti-immigrant US entities in its "hate list" along with neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan.

    The group has faced a number of lawsuits over its controversial practice. However, Google's philanthropic arm, Google.org, worked with SPLC, while the tech giant made substantial donations to the left-wing organisation.

    "Google's relationship with the SPLC has been well documented", confirms Dr Epstein.

    In April 2019, American conservative leaders called upon Big Tech to cut ties with the SPLC following the sacking of the left-wing NGO's co-founder over accusations of harboring a sexist and racist workplace culture.

    "As you know, Twitter has already dropped SPLC, a far-left hate group in its own right, as a consultant on what constitutes a hate group", says Ron Coleman, a lawyer and Chairman of the Firm’s Intellectual Property and Brand Management Practice Group.

    Google CEO Sundar Pinchai testifies before the U.S. Congress December 11, 2018.
    Google CEO Sundar Pinchai testifies before the U.S. Congress December 11, 2018.

    Why Congressional Action Against Google is 'Highly Unlikely'

    It is highly unlikely however, that Silicon Valley's apparent political bias will prompt the US Congress to take measures to prevent it ahead of the 2020 presidential election.

    "I don’t know, but it hardly matters", Coleman notes citing the Google CEO's December 2018 testimony before Congress. "Congressional hearings are nothing but political theater, and they have done nothing whatsoever to impress the tech / social conglomerates. In fact, after each such appearance, at which their executives acknowledge that certain mistakes may have been made and how hard they are trying to be fair, they routinely increase the level of censorship.  So conservatives would be best off hoping there are no more such hearings!"

    For his part, Dr Epstein presumes that while hearings might occur, "congressional action against Google is highly unlikely".

    "Democrats get strong support from the company, and Republicans dislike regulation", the American scholar remarks, adding, however, that one might expect that the action towards Silicon Valley giants could be taken through the US Department of Justice (DOJ)”.

    On 23 July, US government regulators opened an antitrust review of tech giants such as Facebook, Google, and Amazon. The DOJ's antitrust division kicked off a probe into “whether and how market-leading online platforms have achieved market power and are engaging in practices that have reduced competition, stifled innovation, or otherwise harmed consumers”.

    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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