Google Being Accused of Bias
One of the recent happenings in the world of tech is search engine giant Google, being accused of bias against conservatives. Being a search engine that hosts websites, blogs, forums, social networks, etc. and almost all that exists on the internet, it already seems far-fetched to accuse Google of any bias. After all, what you see in your search results is an outcome of whatever you searched. How can Google impact your search and the results you see in any way? Or is there something that Google might be doing behind the curtains and you don’t know about it?
The Accusation against Google
Google is being accused of not letting conservative results appear on its search result pages. Yes, those who accuse Google are saying that Google is messing with the results. At the same time, they are accusing the search engine giant of having a bias in favor of liberal results. Here, it is important to mention that if Google’s tweaking with its algorithms is proved, something big is going to happen. That something is going to happen in the form of a bill called Ending Support for Internet Censorship act. That could be quite an interesting turn in the history of the internet.
A Little about the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act
Before you read about this particular, you have to learn what Section 230 of the law of the US states about websites like Google. According to this section, companies that do not produce and publish information on their websites and rather provide with aggregated results from other websites cannot be held accountable for the information. So, if you find a website result on Google that accused President Trump of something that’s not true, you can’t sue Google. You will have to sue the producer or publisher of that information.
That’s where the Ending Support for Internet Censorship Act comes in. Certain members of Congress are demanding the approval of this Act so they can exempt websites like Google from this impunity. If the bill passes through Congress and enters the law of the US, companies like Google will have to allow audits into how their systems work for producing the results on search result pages. If the auditors find that the search engine or any other similar website for that matter is tweaking the results, due punishment will be chosen for that website. However, that’s a later part of the story.
The first thing you have to think about is what happens if the support for censorship ends for companies like Google? Well, they will have to moderate and monitor every single piece of content that is posted on the internet before they show it in their search results. With billions and billions of such pieces of content being generated every day, there is no way for Google or any other website to monitor, moderate, and filter such results. The other effect of this bill would be for Google to let every piece of the content intact in its search results. Next thing you know, your kids will end up with results about murders, human slaughtering, etc. in their search results without any censorship.
But Proof Is Not There and the Story Isn’t That Straight
The whole process of proving that Google is tweaking its results is nearly impossible. As soon as you start questioning the results from Google, you put the integrity of the entire SEO community in question as well. Why didn’t the SEO professionals ever complain about this issue? Not to mention, search engine optimization or its experts are the other integral part of this entire puzzle. What results appear on search engines are not entirely in the hands of Google. Wouldn’t it make more sense for the researchers who are trying to prove Google’s bias against conservatives to test SEO practices and their results first?
The first they will have to do is to optimize two websites with nearly identical strategies. One website could be one that promotes liberal content and the other one could be a conservative one. If the search results show anomalies, you have a possible case at hand. Emphasize the word “possible” here. Even the best SEO companies can never guarantee their results. Sometimes, they are not able to get a product rank high in search results, let alone conservative content. A lot of the researchers who are supporting the anti-Google elements are constantly leaving out the SEO part from their studies, surveys, and researches.
Congress Isn’t That Intelligent After All
Among all this, you cannot say for sure if congress is going to do everything right. Even if it changes the rules for search engines and demands audits in their algorithms, you can’t say that congress solved the case. One must not forget the complete unawareness and oblivion of the congress members to the internet, search engines, social networks, and how the internet works overall. Imagine a bunch of experienced and seasoned political officers asking why Google shows Trump’s pictures when they type “stupid” in the search box. Yes, they did ask this question from Sundar Pichai in one of the sessions.
And if that’s not dumb enough for you, then how about Ted Poe’s question where he wanted to inquire if Google could see him stroll in the room. And last but not least, one of the congressmen thought he could use WhatsApp to email people. If you have people who know this “much” about the internet trying to come up with new laws to somehow make companies like Facebook, Google, etc. submit to their demands, you can’t say for sure if what they are fighting for is even worth fighting for.
The Future of SEO
The most interesting piece of information here is, “What would happen to SEO if Section 230 becomes ineffective?” The answer to this question is; nothing. SEO will not be affected by any of these things. At the end of it all, Google will still have to use algorithms to rank its search results. And, for as long as the “ranking” issue is there, SEO is not going anywhere.