"Hillary Clinton Crimes" Video Alleges Google Manipulates Search Results. It's Wrong.

"Hillary Clinton Crimes" Video Alleges Google Manipulates Search Results. It's Wrong.
Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

There's a viral video going around that claims Google is artificially hiding search terms that would make Hillary Clinton look bad — like "Hillary Clinton crimes."

The digital news channel SourceFed dug into Google's trend reports and ran an experiment to see if certain terms would autocomplete. It determined that "Hillary Clinton crimes" is being buried by Google's algorithm.

There's one big problem: It's not true. 

Other search engines, like Bing and Yahoo, turn up the search results that Google wouldn't, like "Hillary Clinton crimes."
Source: 
SourceFed/YouTube

The problem here: No, Google isn't turning up "Hillary Clinton crimes." But this is actually because Google filters the term "crimes" as an offensive term whenever it appears alongside a name, presumably to prevent people from using Google to dig up dirt on other people. 

"Google Autocomplete does not favor any candidate or cause," a Google spokesperson wrote in a statement to Mic. "Claims to the contrary simply misunderstand how Autocomplete works."

This applies to any name at all, not just Clinton's: "Charles Manson cri" doesn't autocomplete to "crimes" either. Conversely, if you search "Hillary Clinton b," it autocompletes to "Benghazi."

"Hillary Clinton crimes" doesn't work either.
Source: 
Mic/Google

"Our Autocomplete algorithm will not show a predicted query that is offensive or disparaging when displayed in conjunction with a person's name," the spokesperson wrote.

Google has influence: If a search engine were manipulating search results to favor one candidate over another, it could have a catastrophic effect on our elections, and we might never realize it. In 2012, a research team in San Diego found that a staggering 48.4% of people could be swayed to vote based on biased search results, and 75% of people viewing biased results had no idea they were being manipulated.

Watch SourceFed's video below. It's compelling at first, but ultimately conspiratorial — and, most of all, inaccurate.

Source: YouTube

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Jack Smith IV

Jack Smith IV is a senior writer covering technology and inequality. Send tips, comments and feedback to jack@mic.com.

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