Blacklisting Websites. Favoring Big Businesses. Editing Autofill Responses. This Is How Google Engineers Affect What You Find Online

Kevin Mwanza
Written by Kevin Mwanza
Search engine giant Google has been interfering with its algorithm, changing the results that users see to favor big businesses. Image credit: Moguldom

Google has been interfering with its search algorithms, changing the results that users get to favor big businesses, according to an investigative story by the Wall Street Journal.

The Wall Street Journal conducted more than 100 interviews and undertook its own testing of Google’s search results, providing fodder for ongoing and anti-trust investigations against the tech giant both in the U.S. and globally.

Big businesses favored in search results

Google allegedly boosts popular websites, such as Amazon and Facebook, according to people familiar with the matter.

Google, despite publicly denying doing so, was also found to have blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results.

These blacklists went beyond typical site blockage required by U.S. or international laws such as those featuring child abuse or infringing copyright, and from changes designed to demote spam sites, the Wall Street Journal reported.

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Engineers at Google are also said to be engaged in tampering with autofill responses – a feature that predicts terms as users type in a query – to weed out more-incendiary suggestions for controversial subjects, such as abortion or immigration.

Some experts have, however, said that the Wall Street Journal reporting got “a lot wrong”, saying the publication did not fully understand how the search engine worked.