Citing internal e-mails and receiving corroboration from Fox TV’s Tucker Carlson, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday that employees of the search engine giant Google joined a brainstorming session that was geared to find ways to alter search functions in order to encourage users to counter the Trump administration’s proposed travel ban on certain countries in 2017.
The ultimate goal of the scheme that was hatched by the Google employees was to direct users how to contribute to organizations that were “pro-immigrant” as well as how to contact elected officials, lawmakers and other government agencies. According to the report, the ideas were not implemented.
According to the WSJ report, the email traffic that the paper reviewed indicated that the employees suggested modalities to “leverage” search results to push back on what they perceived to be “Islamophobic” algorithmically biased results from terms as “Muslim,” “Iran,” “Islam,” and “prejudiced, algorithmically biased results from search terms “Mexico,” “Hispanic,” “Latino”, etc.
President Trump’s travel ban temporarily barred visitors and immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries. It spurred public outcry and was revised several times. Trump said the travel ban was needed to protect the United States against attacks by Islamist militants, and the Supreme Court upheld the measure in June.
The WSJ reported that the email chain was “sprinkled with cautionary notes about engaging in political activity,” but also addressed the issue of how to utilize the power of the tech giant over search results that they felt were injurious to their political agenda.
As was previously reported in the Jewish Voice, a Google video that was leaked right after the election of Donald Trump in November 2016 shows executives from Google including co-founder Sergey Brin and CEO Sundar Pichai excoriating Trump’s victory and trying to devise ways in which the impact of the historic election could be diminished in the eyes of the public.
During the Google meeting, co-founder Sergey Brin is overheard comparing Trump supporters to fascists and extremists, arguing that like others of their ilk, they were motivated by “boredom,” which he says in the past led to fascism and communism.
Scrutiny on such tech giants as Google, Facebook and Twitter have come under more focus since President Trump pointed fingers at Google for intentionally fixing search results to suppress positive stories about his administration.
A Google spokesperson said the company does not manipulate search results or modify products to promote political views.
“Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies,” the spokesperson said in a statement.