Google’s search results tend to lean liberal, according to a new study, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Online-search marketer CanIRank.com found that 50 recent Google searches for political terms turned up more liberal leaning sites than conservative ones, rated by a four-person panel.
“From the beginning, our approach to search has been to provide the most relevant answers and results to our users, and it would undermine people’s trust in our results, and our company, if we were to change course,” a Google spokeswoman said in an email to the Journal, denying the allegation of bias.
According to Google, their results are “determined by algorithms using hundreds of factors” and “reflect the content and information that is available on the internet.”
Despite finding that most results come from liberal websites, the panel rated more pages as “very conservative” than “very liberal.”
“We’re talking about a historical level of control over the public sphere,” Zeynep Tufekci, University of North Carolina professor who focuses on the impact of technology on society, told the newspaper.
“Since Google’s search engine ranks certain websites above others, “the question of how this works . . . is a healthy question to raise for a democracy.”
“Google is basically a popularity engine in the sense that the more links you have, the higher you’re ranked,” Nick Diakopoulos, journalism professor at the University of Maryland who studies algorithms, told the Journal.
“If you have a larger cluster on the left and more linking between those pages, it’s a self-reinforcing thing.”
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