An explosive report released Thursday suggests that Google manipulated its search engine to boost Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton by burying unflattering stories about her.
A video posted by SourceFed, a news and pop-culture website, accused Google of attempting to boost secretly Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy.
“Thanks to the help of our editor Spencer Reed, SourceFed has discovered that Google has been actively altering search recommendations in favor of Hillary Clinton’s campaign so quietly that we were unable to see it for what it was until today,” said SourceFed’s Matt Lieberman in the video.
For example, when typing “Hillary Clinton cri,” Google’s auto-complete function brings up as its top choice “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” even though competing search engines Bing and Yahoo show the most popular search topics are “Hillary Clinton criminal charges” and “Hillary Clinton crime.”
While that could reflect legitimate differences in the engines’ algorithms, Mr. Lieberman said that a search of “Hillary Clinton crime reform” on Google trends showed that “there weren’t even enough searches of term to build a graph on the site.”
“Which begs the question, why on Earth is it the first potential result?” he said, adding, “Apparently far more people are searching for ‘Hillary Clinton crimes’ than ‘Hillary Clinton crime reform.’ Google just doesn’t want you to know or ask.”
SourceFed found a similar result when typing in, “Hillary Clinton ind,” which yielded “Hillary Clinton Indiana” and “Hillary Clinton India” on Google, but “Hillary Clinton indictment” on the other search engines.
“The intention is clear. Google is burying potential searches for terms that could have hurt Hillary Clinton in the primary elections over the past several months by manipulating recommendations on their site,” Mr. Lieberman said.
There was no difference between Google and other search engines when SourceFed searched for unflattering terms associated with Democrat Bernie Sanders and Republican Donald Trump.
In the video, Mr. Lieberman emphasized that SourceFed was not accusing Google of any crimes, calling the manipulation “deeply unethical and wrong but not illegal,” and adding that there is no evidence to suggest collusion between the Clinton campaign and Google.
On the other hand, Mr. Lieberman did say that “there are a stunning number of links between Google and her campaign,” starting with former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, an active Clinton backer who runs a Clinton campaign data-analysis contracting firm.
Google did not return immediately Thursday evening a request for comment.
The allegations by SourceFed, whose YouTube page shows 1.7 million subscribers, come on the heels of an Internet scandal involving allegations that Facebook manipulated its “trending topics” section to omit conservative-friendly stories.