Republicans were outraged on Thursday after a Google search for the California Republican Party listed “Nazism” as one of the ideologies espoused by the organization. In a box called a “knowledge panel,” Google made the offensive claim, mostly because it pulls information from the notoriously unreliable, left-wing Wikipedia – a haven for user vandalism and outright ideological oppression.
Once the controversy was out and reported, Google quickly corrected the mistake by removing the knowledge panel altogether and apologizing to users. Still, for a company (and an industry) that has been accused of liberal bias for some time, this little incident didn’t do them any favors among conservatives.
“Sadly, this is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives,” tweeted GOP Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. “These damaging actions must be held to account.”
“We regret that vandalism on Wikipedia briefly appeared on our search results,” Google Communications tweeted in response to the controversy. “This was not the result of a manual change by Google. We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that happened here.”
But as McCarthy said, these “errors” keep happening, and they always seem to happen in one direction. Just last month, Facebook “mistakenly” punished Trump supporting duo Diamond and Silk by banning them from using the platform in certain ways. This cost them many followers and led to a memorable exchange on Capitol Hill when Sen. Ted Cruz grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his company’s bias against conservatives.
“In that specific case,” Zuckerberg said, “our team made an enforcement error and we have already gotten in touch with them to reverse it.”
But the examples go on and on, and not all of them can be – or are even attempted to be – blamed on errors in the system. Last week, a prominent conservative site – Legal Insurrection – found themselves frozen out of Amazon’s monetization platform for reasons that simply didn’t jibe with reality. When the founders of the site tried to remedy the problem, they were confronted with a company that had zero interest in rectifying the situation. Last year, YouTube banned anti-abortion videos from Prager University and labeled others as unfit for younger users. They did so while leaving alone pro-abortion videos that – in terms of explicit content – were exactly the same or worse. And Twitter…well, don’t even get us started on Twitter.
Silicon Valley’s tech giants think they are too big, right now, to worry about what Trump supporters think about their practices. Maybe they are. But eventually, these drips will become a waterfall…and then a flood. When that happens, Jimmy Wales, Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and the rest of the billionaires may find themselves under water before they know (as one lady might put it) “what happened.”