Google once again tried to manipulate undecided voters with slanted search results.
This time the Big Tech company’s tactics seem to have benefited incumbent Democrat Senator Raphael Warnock in the hotly contested Georgia runoff Senate race against Republican candidate Herschel Walker. "Google at it again trying to swing the election,” MRC founder and President Brent Bozell said. “Google needs to be held accountable for interfering in elections."
MRC Free Speech America analyzed Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo search results from searches conducted on Dec. 3 in one majority Democrat precinct, one majority Republican precinct and one swing precinct in Coweta County, Georgia.
In a very telling revelation, MRC Free Speech America researchers found that Google’s results favored Warnock in the swing precinct where greater proportions of undecided voters likely reside. Warnock’s campaign website appeared third in Google search results, but the platform scrubbed Walker’s website from the first page of results altogether.
MRC Free Speech America Vice President Dan Schneider noted that the search results favored Democrats only where it was strategically advantageous. “This is where the votes are that Democrats need to win, so of course, that's where Google is manipulating search results,” he said. “Google is smart and knows what it's doing."
MRC Free Speech America showed in a 2022 pre-election study that Google also favored Warnock in the lead-up to the midterm elections. In that study, the tech giant ranked Warnock’s campaign website fifth and completely excluded Walker’s website from the first page of results.
MRC Free Speech America reviewed 12 Senate races that RealClearPolitics identified as most important to watch. In 10 of the 12 races (83%) the Republican candidates’ campaign websites appeared far lower (or did not appear at all) on the first page of Google’s search results compared to their Democratic opponents’ campaign websites. Seven of 12 Senate Republican candidates’ campaign websites did not appear on page one using Google’s organic search.
The impact of search engine manipulation that eliminates websites from the first page of results cannot be overstated. A Backlinko SEO [Search Engine Optimization] study conducted by SEO expert Brian Dean, found that less than 1 percent of “Google searchers clicked on something from the second page.” According to the same SEO study, the top six Google search results get 74 percent of all clicks, making Google’s biased demotion of Walker’s campaign website all the more nefarious.
Methodology: MRC Free Speech America worked with David Carlson, executive director of American Virtue, who oversaw the search tests used in this analysis. On Dec. 3, searchers searched using the terms “Herschel Walker Senate Race 2022” and “Raphael Warnock Senate Race 2022” in precincts 5, 18 and 20 in Coweta County, Ga. The searches were conducted using incognito and/or private browsing mode on each of the search browsers utilized so as to eliminate prior search bias and cookies. Precincts were determined Republican, Democrat and swing based on the ratio of registered Republican and Democrat voters in those precincts. Searchers sent MRC Free Speech America screenshots of the search results for analysis.
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