Google’s Trust and Safety Council Blacklists Conservatives

April 9th, 2019 5:28 PM

According to leaked documents obtained by the Daily Caller, Google does act upon its bias against conservatives in the most pernicious ways possible.

Daily Caller reported on April 9, that Google described two different policies in those documents which, if broken, might lead the search engine to blacklist certain sites from search results. It found information about Google’s “XPA news blacklist” which is updated by Google employees on the Trust & Safety team as needed. That blacklist included Matt Walsh’s blog, Gary North’s blog, American Spectator, the Conservative Tribune, and the Gateway Pundit.

The policy document on Google’s “misrepresentation policy” and its “Good Neighbor policy” outlined the policy on “offending” websites: “The purpose of the blacklist will be to bar the sites from surfacing in any Search feature or news product. It will not cause a demotion in the organic search results or de-index them altogether.”

In Congressional testimony in December 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai claimed “Google doesn’t manually intervene on any particular search result.” But in one of the leaked documents reported on by Daily Caller, mentioned a “manual review tool” found in the process of updating the blacklist. 

In previous leaked documents to Breitbart, Google employees and YouTube employees have admitted to manipulating search results on YouTube to filter out certain ideological messages. For example, pro-life material was removed and blacklisted on YouTube, in response to a complaint from a Slate blogger. Then, a member of the Trust & Safety Team, Daniel Aaronson, wrote that while most users preferred organic search results, Google and YouTube had “different expectations.”

The unnamed Google source told the Daily Caller, “You can’t trust the human judgment of Google’s Trust and Safety team.”

The Media Research Center reached out to Google for a comment. A Google spokesperson responded on April 9:

“We do not manually determine the order of any search result, nor do our algorithms or policies attempt to make any judgement on the political leanings of a website. Our Google News inclusion policies are publicly available online. They provide guidelines on content and behaviors for matters like sponsored content, deceptive practices, and more. Sites that do not adhere to these policies are not eligible to appear on news surfaces or in information boxes in Search. These policies do not impact the way these sites appear in organic blue-link Google Search results.”

Even before this allegation, research showed that Google’s algorithms were biased in favor of the left. An academic study from AllSides noted that Google was biased towards the left in its news searches 4 to 1. Tech expert and researcher Dr. Robert Epstein has argued that Google can use its algorithms to manipulate elections, from ranking results from a search bar to auto-suggesting responses in the bar itself.

In more leaked emails to the Daily Caller, Google employees wanted conservative websites such as Breitbart and the Daily Caller should be “downranked” on Google Search as “opinion blogs.”