Documents Detailing Google’s ‘News Blacklist’ Show Manual Manipulation of Special Search Results

J. Arthur Bloom, Daily Caller, April 9, 2019

Google does manipulate its search results manually, contrary to the company’s official denials, documents obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller indicate.

Two official policies dubbed the “misrepresentation policy” and the “good neighbor policy” inform the company’s “XPA news blacklist,” which is maintained by Google’s Trust & Safety team. “T&S will be in charge of updating the blacklist as when there is a demand,” reads one of the documents shared with The Daily Caller.

That document reads that it was, “approved by [email protected], [email protected], [email protected] as of 8/13/2018.” Ben Gomes is Google’s head of search, who reports directly to CEO Sundar Pichai. Pandu Nayak is a Google Fellow, and Paul Haahr is a software engineer, whose bio on Google’s internal network Moma indicates that he is also involved in, “fringe ranking: not showing fake news, hate speech, conspiracy theories, or science/medical/history denial unless we’re sure that’s what the user wants.”

“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,” reads the policy document obtained by the Caller. What that means is that targeted sites will not be removed from the “ten blue links” portion of search results, but the blacklist applies to most of the other search features, like “top news,” “videos” or the various sidebars that are returned as search results.

In a section of the memo entitled “Eligibility for GNP [Good Neighbor Policy] enforcement,” the types of search results impacted by the policy are described:

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The “ten blue links” may not be impacted by the blacklist, but virtually every other kind of Google search result is. While hard numbers are not available for how much traffic is directed through the 10 links versus the other search blocks, since the latter appear so high on the results page, the impact could be significant.

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A memo about the deceptive news blacklist was also obtained by the Caller, showing its last edit as Dec. 3, 2018, a week before Pichai’s congressional testimony. {snip}

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The document indicates that there is, among other things, a “manual review tool” involved in maintaining the blacklist.

On the blacklist are a number of conservative sites, including Gateway Pundit, Matt Walsh’s blog, Gary North’s blog “teapartyeconomist.com,” Caroline Glick’s website, Conservative Tribune, a property of The Western Journal and the website of the American Spectator.

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