With election approaching, did Google just test a blacklist of conservative websites?

by WorldTribune Staff, July 23, 2020

Google, in preparation for the November election, may have this week carried out a trial run of de-platforming conservative websites, a columnist noted.

Content from multiple conservative outlets temporarily disappeared from Google’s search results on Tuesday.

“Google appeared to test its ability to blacklist conservative media Tuesday,” Tristan Justice wrote for The Federalist.

According to NewsBusters, websites impacted by Google’s apparent suspension test were still organically available on Bing, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.

Mediaite reporter Charlie Nash noted that Google had “removed several conservative websites from search results” including RedState, Breitbart, The Daily Caller, and Human Events.

Former Google engineer Mike Wacker told Mediaite in a statement that the blackout may have “revealed the existence of another blacklist that disproportionately targets conservatives.”

Wacker added: “The glitch is that sites on this blacklist disappeared from Google search results, but the existence of the list is very much by design. And that raises a major question: Why was this blacklist created in the first place, and what else is it used for?”

A Project Veritas report of 2019 revealed a Google black list of alternative conservative sites. That list did not include general interest conservative news sites like WorldTribune, Washington Examiner and Washington Times.

The Daily Caller reported its site was included in Tuesday’s Google blackout.

Related: Google seen intent on shifting 10 percent of electorate to defeat Trump, July 12, 2020

Daily Caller News Foundation reporter Chuck Ross tweeted: “An experiment on whether Google is blocking search results for conservative sites. Randomly picked Stefan Halper as a search term. NYT and WaPo have 96 returns combined. No results on @DailyCaller, though we’ve probably published his name 100 times.”

Stefan Halper has also been the subject of multiple WorldTribune reports.

In a statement to The Federalist, Google claimed: “Today we became aware of an issue that impacted some navigational and site: operator queries. We investigated and have since fixed the issue. This affected a number of sites representing a range of different content and viewpoints. This issue was a technical error unrelated to the content or ideology of the sites affected.”

The Federalist’s Justice noted: “The latest bout of censorship comes just weeks after the California tech giant threatened to demonetize The Federalist following NBC collusion with a foreign left-wing think tank which filed a complaint over the conservative website’s reporting on media malpractice in its coverage of recent violent inner-city riots. While NBC News first celebrated Google’s decision to de-platform a competitor, the search company clarified that the website had not been banned and instead, it merely threatened to demonetize The Federalist for content in the comments sections. YouTube meanwhile, which is owned by Google, remains notorious for hosting the most nefarious comments sections on the entire Internet.”

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