Google is manipulating search results to bury Senate Republican candidates’ campaign websites before the 2022 midterm elections. This comes on the heels of a North Carolina State University study that found that Google’s Gmail marked 59.3 percent more emails from “right”-leaning candidates as spam compared to “left”-leaning candidates.
“Google must be investigated for its un-American efforts to sway the election,” said L. Brent Bozell, founder and president of the Media Research Center. “First, researchers caught Google red-handed by proving Republican campaign emails were sent to spam. Now we’ve uncovered Google manipulating search results to hide Republican campaign websites while promoting Democratic ones. This is all an effort by Google to help Democrats and interfere in the democratic process.”
MRC Free Speech America has analyzed Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo search results for the 12 Senate races identified by RealClearPolitics as the most important to watch. Our researchers caught Google burying 10 of 12 Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites while highlighting their opponents campaign sites in organic search results. This stands in stark contrast to Bing and DuckDuckGo whose search results treated Republican and Democrat campaign websites more neutrally than Google.
- Google buried Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites. Ten of 12 Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites (83%) appeared far lower (or did not appear at all) on page one of Google’s organic search results compared to their Senate Democratic Party opponents’ campaign websites.
- Google completely hid seven of 12 Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites in page one organic search results. Seven of 12 Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites did not appear on page one using Google’s organic search. Meanwhile, eight of 12 Senate Democratic Party candidate campaign websites were highlighted in the top six items in organic search results.
- Google’s search result bias is undeniable when compared to Bing and DuckDuckGo. With the exception of one candidate, both Bing and DuckDuckGo showed both the Senate Democratic Party candidates’ campaign websites and the Senate Republican Party candidates’ campaign websites in the top five organic search results on page one.
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- Google must stop its war against Democracy. The first step it must take to begin to rebuild trust with conservatives is to:
- Provide Transparency: We need detailed information so everyone can see if liberal groups and users are being treated the same as those on the right. Social media companies operate in a black-box environment, only releasing anecdotes about reports on content and users when they think it necessary. This needs to change. The companies need to design open systems so that they can be held accountable, while giving weight to privacy concerns;
- Members of Congress must also take action to protect Americans’ free speech liberties. Congress should fully investigate this search result bias and all efforts by Google to influence the outcome of the midterm elections.
For this report, MRC Free Speech America has analyzed the Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo search results for the 12 Senate races identified by RealClearPolitics as the “Top Senate Races” on Oct. 7, 2022. The “Top Senate Races” included the Democratic Party and Republican Party candidates from the following states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Washington and Wisconsin.
MRC Free Speech America created an algorithm to automate this process in a clean environment. A “clean environment” allows for organic search to populate results without the influence of prior search history and tracking cookies.
MRC Free Speech America researchers searched each candidate’s name with the words “Senate Race 2022” using the algorithm. To determine bias, our researchers looked at each search engines’ results and recorded the rank(s) of each candidate’s campaign website.
Example(s): “Blake Masters Senate Race 2022” and “Mark Kelly Senate Race 2022”