An article that ran in The Atlantic a few days ago has sat on a tab in my browser ever since I first noticed it. Stories often do that; if they stay there too long without me reading it, I eventually give up and close them. But this one persisted. The headline was concerning because I assumed it was an article that would attempt to disprove the reality of big tech bias against conservatives. I was right, but it did something else in the process. It pointed out other problems with sites like Facebook, Google, YouTube, and Twitter as reasons to ignore the bias.
In other words, it wasn’t an unhinge leftist post screaming, “Conservatives lie!” Instead, it was an unambiguous deflection that said, “Conservatives are wrong and here’s why.” The latter is more dangerous than the former.
The article, titled “Why Conservatives Allege Big Tech Is Muzzling Them,” is well written and draws from a decent technical understanding of algorithms, how we affect them, and how they affect us as a result. But the journalistic crime committed in the article isn’t one of progressive manipulation. It committed the sin of omission by pretending like the technology is all-powerful and therefore the progressive-leaning leaders and employees at these companies cannot and do not utilize them to reinforce their political narrative.
Everyone at the top of these big tech companies is progressive. Most of their senior staff are progressive; I base this on researching many and finding nary a conservative among them, thus the use of the term, “most.” A good chunk of their employees are progressive, which we can see by the various causes they unite behind in the name of (or in opposition to) their employers. Keep all of this in mind as we explore the problem further.
Algorithms are tools. They enable machines to take in data, analyze the data based on protocols, and adjust what they serve to both individuals and the masses based on the conclusions drawn. For example, Google’s search ranking algorithm examines factors on a page to understand what topics are being discussed. It doesn’t just read the visible text. It takes many on-page factors into account such as placement and quantity of ads, cleanness of the code, loading speed, ease of use on multiple devices, and tags that give prominence to certain pieces of content.
Then, the algorithm considers the source itself. How old is the domain? Does this source link to other good sources or is it linking to questionable ones? Is the content taken from other sources and does this particular domain often use “duplicate content” to fill its pages?
Engagement is a factor as well. When people click on a page they see in search results, do they click the back button and continue looking at other sources in their search results? This is important to Google; if they serve up a link in a search result and people generally click back to keep searching, they must not be finding what they’re seeking on the page and therefore the page shouldn’t be offered up to future searches. But Google isn’t just worried about how people interact with their own search. They can track a majority of major websites, and more importantly the activities of people on those websites, to help determine relevance. Are people staying on the page long? Are they clicking to other pages on the same site?
Arguably the most important aspect of their search algorithm is what happens off the site. Are other sites linking to it regularly? Google loves to present sites that are heavily referenced. This is how they’re able to take a scoop and present it at the top of the search results ahead of better sources. If Buzzfeed posts a story that draws attention from the New York Times and Washington Post, Buzzfeed will often get higher placement even though it’s considered a less-reliable source. Google also looks at social media mentions, though they’ve denied this for years. Results demonstrate otherwise.
This crash course in search engine optimization may seem to verify The Atlantic’s claim that unbiased algorithms are in control, but there’s a catch. It isn’t in the formula that the bias exists. It’s in the weighting of the factors, and those weights are determined by people. Breitbart is one of the most heavily trafficked news sites on the internet, but it’s difficult to find them in search results ahead of smaller progressive publications when searching for various topics. Why? Because human bias has deemed Breitbart is not a trustworthy source. Even Buzzfeed stories, which are demonstrably not trustworthy, usually rank higher than sites like Breitbart, The Daily Wire, and Daily Caller.
That’s not the only way Google employees manipulate people. In the much-vaunted recommendation engine used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, the bias is unquestionable. You’ve probably used it yourself without realizing it. Once you start typing something into Google, it tries to anticipate what you’re going to type based on history. But there is bias involved here as well. Until recently, one would never be recommended “Hillary Clinton Email Scandal” as an option regardless of what they started typing in. Other news outlets and NOQ Report helped expose this, and with Clinton no longer a major player in the Democratic Party, Google has changed this. By hand. Manually. A person did that, not an algorithm.
The unfortunate reality is Google’s bias is less pronounced than other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter. Even YouTube, which is owned by Google, has a more nefarious history of trying to guide people to progressive propaganda. A lot of attention was drawn to YouTube’s willingness to take people down extremist rabbit holes by offering them results that matched their extremist leanings. But there was a fatal flaw in this “study” from earlier this year. YouTube practices confirmation bias. They know that people who search for and click on one particular video are likely to also like other similar videos. So they give progressives more progressive stuff and conservatives more conservative stuff. But where their leftist bias comes into play is with “clean” searches. Just as Google gives preference to sites it deems “trustworthy,” AKA progressive, so too does YouTube present progressive perspectives over conservative ones on any given subject.
As mentioned before, these big tech companies have leaders and employees who are generally progressive. This is why “hate speech” posts on social media sites are quickly removed when coming from conservatives, but similar “hate speech” coming from progressives is ignored. We’ve seen this over and over again; conservative Candace Owens was suspended from Twitter for repeating Sarah Jeong’s racist Tweets verbatim, only switching out “white” for “black” to prove a point. Twitter obliged by proving the point for her. This is just one of many instances where a conservative saying literally the exact same thing as a progressive gets them banned while the progressive is allowed to go about their merry racist ways.
It’s foolish for The Atlantic to believe machines are in control. Machines can only recognize “hate speech” based on what people tell it. Moderators are not immune to bias. Conservatives are being purged, silenced, and censored regularly.
Few people want to win by cheating. It’s not as fulfilling as winning fair and square. But if given the choice between cheating and losing, progressives will cheat in a heartbeat and hide the truth to keep their narrative intact.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
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