Google has denied claims asserted by British lawmakers that it promotes pro-EU news coverage, after a study found that outlets with a Remain-leaning agenda tend to rank higher on page 1 of the Google search results.
“We focus on the quality and relevance of content in the first place, rather than on political views or ideology,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
The company said their search algorithms rank content based on how original it is to deliver “relevant and useful results” and do not have a political bias.
The statement came in response to criticism from several MPs for the Conservative Party, who blamed Google for taking a political viewpoint despite its stated reliance on such parameters as expertise, authority and trust.
Their claims were based on a recent analysis of Google search results by the SEO platform Searchmetrics, which found that the BBC, The Guardian and The Independent – the three news websites considered Europhile – dominate Brexit-related news searches.
The platform’s content marketing manager said: “The prominence of the Guardian means that the Google search results are more likely to feature pro-remain coverage, with pro-Brexit reports in the Daily Express, Telegraph or Sun appearing less frequently.”
Accusations of bias are nothing new for Google, which received a lot of flak over its ranking of news content during the 2016 presidential election. One of the studies suggests that a “dramatic” bias in Google search results may have swayed millions of undecided voters to Hillary Clinton that year. Another has found that Google’s algorithm gives an overwhelming majority of its Top Stories results to Democrat-leaning outlets.
Google’s mantra is that its search algorithms are not programmed to push any political agenda or ideology.