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Search Engines being manipulated??? - August 26th 2016, 10:54 AM

I could use some help trying to figure out if this is just me imagining things, or if this could be something real. This is about search engines.

I remember when searching online for politically related topics several years ago, I would generally get more results of liberal politics and ideas than conservative ones. Since then I have carried on thinking that there is some sort of pro-liberal bias in the internet.

I have noticed today that this has changed. I have used several search engines, "google", "yahoo", "dogpile", "bing", etc.

I have searched for simple things like "racism against blacks"... and gotten back strange results. Things like black people being racist against whites instead.

This is something I don't understand yet, but I do remember that few years ago this was not the case. Search engines have a habit of remembering people's search histories. I know that. So I use several search engines, and even used a VPN service provider to connect to the internet from other countries and give a false location, thinking that this might change the results I get through google. The results when I use VPN are slightly different for different countries, but generally the same trends exist.

Are search results being manipulated? Somehow? I've seen reports of how effective Facebook changing it's search algorithms can be at putting certain people out of business by promoting rival companies instead. I don't use Facebook much (I feel like it rots my brain), but I use google plenty.

Could something similar be happening there?

.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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Re: Search Engines being manipulated??? - September 4th 2016, 11:02 AM

I don't know if you wanted to debate this or if you actually wanted facts/information. I don't know about Yahoo or Bing (because I dislike them), but Google supposedly has a very secret algorithm for their search engine. It's not something new.

From Google's support section I found the following information.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Google Support
When a user enters a query, our machines search the index for matching pages and return the results we believe are the most relevant to the user. Relevancy is determined by over 200 factors, one of which is the PageRank for a given page. PageRank is the measure of the importance of a page based on the incoming links from other pages. In simple terms, each link to a page on your site from another site adds to your site's PageRank. Not all links are equal: Google works hard to improve the user experience by identifying spam links and other practices that negatively impact search results. The best types of links are those that are given based on the quality of your content.
In short, it's pretty much not possible for Google to manipulate results because there are not (m)any people that have constant direct access to change the results like it previously on was Facebook. Their algorithm takes the most relevant and popular results and shows them in the search results. Sure you could say the algorithm was written to manipulate results, but I'm not really a conspiracy theorist so I don't care much either way. I usually find what I'm searching for eventually and if it's not in the first search then by rephrasing it a couple times I find it.


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Re: Search Engines being manipulated??? - September 4th 2016, 05:27 PM

Google's search results were almost certainly being manipulated during the Democratic primary election. I'm not sure if it still works this way, but if you typed in "hillary clinton", it would autofill the box with ANYTHING except for her scandals (and her non-scandals too, for that matter). I think they fixed it, but I'm sure Google didn't want a real liberal like Bernie Sanders to win the presidency, somebody who would actually make them pay taxes.
For what its worth, and this isn't strictly related to anything you said, but Hillary Clinton isn't liberal. She's fiscally conservative until she's forced not to be and adapts her social views to whatever is popular.


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Re: Search Engines being manipulated??? - September 6th 2016, 08:40 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Saudade View Post
In short, it's pretty much not possible for Google to manipulate results because there are not (m)any people that have constant direct access to change the results like it previously on was Facebook.
The simple fact that people can pay google, to promote their websites to the top of the search results... kind of disproves what you said.

Referring back to my previous post... I do not think that in this case the search results might be intentionally manipulated. I've done some extra reading on the how these kinds of algorithms work... and the general idea is that google will display search results of websites, links, etc., based a number of attributes such as:
- how often the site if visited
- how of then the site is modified/updated
- how many times it is referenced to by other websites
- how "user friendly" the site is (for example, how well does it display on tablet devices or smartphones)

And so on.

So the change in the search results which I described in my initial post... would simply be explained by people's interests shifting, and what people search for/what gets the most hits.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichWolverineFreak View Post
Google's search results were almost certainly being manipulated during the Democratic primary election. I'm not sure if it still works this way, but if you typed in "hillary clinton", it would autofill the box with ANYTHING except for her scandals (and her non-scandals too, for that matter). I think they fixed it, but I'm sure Google didn't want a real liberal like Bernie Sanders to win the presidency, somebody who would actually make them pay taxes.
For what its worth, and this isn't strictly related to anything you said, but Hillary Clinton isn't liberal. She's fiscally conservative until she's forced not to be and adapts her social views to whatever is popular.


The problem is it is very difficult to prove these kinds of things. It is all suspicion, conspiracy theories. Reasonable suspicion in my opinion. Google certainly yields a lot of power with their search engine... and I do not doubt it could be used to manipulate large numbers of people. Whether it has actually been done... I'd be surprised if it hasn't.

And I think there are very few genuine liberal politicians. Most of them are probably what you describe... conservatives who adapt their social views to whatever is popular.

.


"I don't care about politics"
Then politics doesn't care about you either. Truth. You've got to make your voice heard, if you want to be listened to. But that's too logical for some people, so let me go a step further. Not making your voice heard, leaves other people free to hijack it by speaking on your behalf, even if they don't actually give a shit about you. That's politics. So, make your voice heard. That's not a quote from anywhere. That's just me.


   
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