Google News Promotes The Far Right

11 comments

The Times runs a story about how Google News features material from the far-right British National Party (BNP) on its online news service. As Google hand select the organisations that source Google News, then one assumes that BNP literature has, in principle, been approved by Google for inclusion. In spite of the Times' article, Google continue to run the BNP stuff when I checked just now.

Quote:
Today, when "Mary-Ann Leneghan", the name of the Reading schoolgirl who was murdered in May was entered, a story written by a BNP "correspondent" on the current murder trial was shown at the top of the list of stories on the case.

When The Times contacted Google, they got a piece of utter bollocks in reply

Quote:
A spokesperson for Google told Times Online: "Google News has no human editors selecting stories or deciding which ones deserve top placement. Our headlines are selected by computer algorithms, based on factors including how often and on what sites a story appears online."

We all know that G can and do hand edit. The Times points out G told them themselves last year. Further G choose from which sources they select news items, so they need never have BNP on the source list. If the BNP publication was not on the "approved" list, then the computer could never have selected it.

Readers with long memories may remember that TW was removed from the G list of approved news sources last year. Mayby the BNPs views are more acceptable than TWs to Google!

Comments

Far Right and Far Left...

Far Right and Far Left... and even the "Insurgents" in Iraq are on Google News.

Makes you lose even more

Makes you lose even more faith in the old media when they can’t be bothered to read the FAQ or do a little research.

The Guardian were the first and had the headline ‘BNP gets top news listing on Google’ but when i checked their own story had knocked the bnp site down to 2nd

"was listed before the BBC, Reuters, Channel 4, the Times and the Telegraph." oh no! how dare people want more choice.

Problem?

I dont see the problem personally. If they include the far left I don't see why they shouldn't include the far right, and certainly the article in question seemed to be a factually based report, abeit with a little BBC bashing editorial thrown in. Diversity of opinion is a good thing, even if we don't agree with it.

Absolutely duncanriley. The

Absolutely duncanriley. The far left is equally as dangerous as the far right. Both are extreme positions but Google is right to include both. Even if they do leave out Threadwatch ;)

I call bullsh_t on that

Do searches for 20 contentious political, religious or environmental issues on Google and it is *plain for the eye to see* that Google's almost uniquely offering free AdWords ads to far-left viewpoints. Google is very much like Apple in that it's culture couldn't be further from the Right.

-Shorebreak

Forests = Bad...Click Here to Kill a Tree.

Do searches for 20 contentious political, religious or environmental issues on Google and it is *plain for the eye to see* that Google's almost uniquely offering free AdWords ads to far-left viewpoints.

That is a selection problem. But not Google's selection problem. The selection problem is caused by certain worldviews lending more care toward some issues while other worldviews are focused on others.

Are there any pro tree right wing organizations? Are there anywhere near as many of them on the right side as the left? Should Google put up free corporate ads about why strip mining forests is a good thing for the environment to counteract there being more charities on the other side of the issue?

I am not saying that all causes are legitimate or founded on good grounds, but if some people care more about certain issues then it only makes sense that information gathering services are going to display that bias, opinion, or frame more often.

Engines often point to what is popular and / or controversial...not necessarily what is best. Relevancy is in the eye of the beholder.

Google (and the others) CANNOT win in this context

If any search engine relies completely on algorithms and eschew human editing/selection of sites, then it's clear that the "News" will end up polluted with truly despicable and non-news-worthy crap from all over the political spectrum.

If they hand-edit, then any biases of the editors will -- no matter the best intentions -- affect the sites selected, and ALL selections will be subjected to enormous and often loud scrutiny -- again, from all across the political spectrum.

I don't envy the search engine folks who have to take the flack in this context. I really just don't see any easy answers...

I'm pretty far left...

but I don't mind at all that Google News includes articles by people/organizations with whom I disagree. Hey, they sometimes run stories by the Washington Times (not Post), which is run by The Moonies. Far right, and a real live cult.

Are there any pro tree right

Are there any pro tree right wing organizations?

Actually there's a strong strain of eco-activism on the far right: taking in small-scale, local industries, anti-globalisation etc. At that point the boundaries between right and left become v blurred. And there's your problem - where do you start/stop censoring? We know the BNP peddle disgusting racist policies, but if someone on the extreme right made (for eg) a comment about the damage done to the planet by industry, do we censor that? My argument on political issues would be not to censor but to argue back ... I can be exposed to the views of racists without becoming a racist. One of the biggest weapons extremists use is 'they're censoring us ... what are they afraid of'.

its not googles job to censor

and as I've said before - listen to Nick Griffin being interviewed and he sounds like a very intelligent, honest and reasonable man. It's only when you look at the literature he and his office produces that you start to feel very scared indeed. Personally I'd be more concerned if that material wasn't available to anyone researching online than I am that it is.

Provision of full information is almost always a good thing. The governments and authorities have the job of censoring information according to the laws and morals of the land. China have proven that its possible to require the SE's to not show illegal material. If it is legal then I really dont want some american corporation (Google) telling me what I can and can't look at thank you, if you don't want to be exposed to that stuff then use a diferent news aggregator :)

The problem is in the weighting...

The problem is in the weighting of the BNP site or Puffin Fanciers' Weekly or any blog you care to mention as equivalent in news values to the New York or London Times (and I'm not a reader of either).

It's the old argument (currently being used in the intelligent design "debate") - if I can get my argument accepted as equivalent and opposite to the majority view then I have achieved my first goal, which is validating it.

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