Monday, September 17, 2018 by News Editors
(Article by Lucas Nolan republished from Breitbart.com)
A recently leaked video from a Google TGIF meeting shortly after the election of President Trump showed Google executives and employees dismayed at the victory of Trump and discussing plans to thwart Trump’s agenda and the larger populist movement worldwide. Here are just some of the ways that Google could attempt to make sure, to use the words of Google VP for Global Affairs Kent Walker, that “this election and others around the world” are just a “hiccup in history’s arc towards progress.”
1: Google Jigsaw
During the leaked TGIF meeting, one of the projects discussed was Jigsaw. Jigsaw is Alphabet’s think tank department or “social incubator.” Initially branded Google Ideas in 2010, the project was renamed Jigsaw in 2016 with then Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt explaining that the new name “reflects our belief that collaborative problem-solving yields the best solutions” and that the team’s mission “is to use technology to tackle the toughest geopolitical challenges, from countering violent extremism to thwarting online censorship to mitigating the threats associated with digital attacks.”
However, so far most of what Jigsaw has produced has been new ways to censor information online, such as their “Perspective” A.I. product which attempts to crack down on “abusive” comments online. Perspective is used to filter and compile comments on websites for human review. To learn what exactly counts as a “toxic” comment, the program studied hundreds of thousands of user comments that had been deemed unacceptable by reviewers on websites like the New York Times and Wikipedia. “All of us are familiar with increased toxicity around comments in online conversations,” said Jigsaw president Jared Cohen. “People are leaving conversations because of this, and we want to empower publications to get those people back.”
2: Filter bubbles
A filter bubble is described by Technopedia as: “the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption… A filter bubble, therefore, can cause users to get significantly less contact with contradicting viewpoints, causing the user to become intellectually isolated… Personalized search results from Google and personalized news stream from Facebook are two perfect examples of this phenomenon.”
This essentially means that Google only returns certain results based on a user’s browsing habits, which means that users may only be suggested content from the sources that reinforce their preconceived ideas. Given the nature of the Google algorithm, this means that users can be manipulated based upon what content the search function returns to them.
This phenomenon becomes particularly worrying around elections, when people are most likely to Google information about prospective candidates. Filter bubbles can mean that a user only receives positive results about a candidate they like and negative results about a candidate they dislike. This type of manipulation is a prime concern of big tech whistleblower Dr. Robert Epstein.
3: “Fake news”
Another way that Google could affect the content that users see is through the marking of certain websites or articles as “fake news.” Dr. Robert Epstein, a senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, discussedthis at the Breitbart Masters of the Universe Town Hall stating:
“If Breitbart published a nice sarcastic, satire, satirical piece, brilliantly written, wouldn’t that look like a fake news story? On the surface, wouldn’t it? Wouldn’t it get automatically censored because the algorithms, and for that matter the people who are making these decisions, they would look at something that he just said,” point to Marlow, “as some that’s false, invalid, unreasonable, right? And it would get censored.”
Now, this kind of power should not be in the hands of a handful of executives in Silicon Valley who are not accountable to us the general public, they’re accountable only to their shareholders.”
Christian satire website The Babylon Bee faced the exact issue that Epstein discussed when Facebook threatened to censor the site for spreading “fake news.” The supposed “fake news” was a satirical article which claimed that CNN had purchased an “industrial-size washing machine to spin news before publication.” Yet, partisan “fact-checking” service Snopes felt the need to publish a correction of the article that clarified that CNN had not “made a significant investment in heavy machinery.” After Snopes published the article Adam Ford, who runs the Babylon Bee, received a notification from Facebook which warned him that if he continued to publish “fake news” corrected by Snopes on Facebook, he could have his page demonetized and his page reach severely reduced.
Similar tactics could easily be employed by Google to permanently blacklist certain websites or articles to influence voters.
Read more at: Breitbart.com