Researchers at Northwestern University investigated from which news sites did Google promote the most news stories. They examined the 6,302 articles that appeared in Google’s ‘top stories’ page in November 2017.
One of the study’s researchers, Nicholas Diakopoulos explained how the study was executed to the Columbia Journalism Review, “To audit Top Stories, we scraped Google results for more than 200 queries related to news events in November 2017. We selected the queries to test by looking at Google Trends every day and manually choosing terms related to hard news events. These included names of people in the news such as “Colin Kaepernick,” breaking news events such as “earthquake,” and issue-specific queries such as “tax reform” or “healthcare gov.” We set up our scraper to minimize the potential for result personalization (the process by which Google tailors its search results to an account or IP address based on past use) and ran each query once per minute for a full 24 hours. The result was quantitative proof of Google’s bias toward left-wing news outlets.”
Per the Study, the top 20.0% of news sources (136 of 678) account for 86.0% of all impressions, and 52.1% of impressions go to the top 20 news sources The top three, CNN, The New York Times, and The Washington Post account for 23.0% of impressions observed. Looking down the list of the top twenty, there is only one site that can be considered conservative.
Fox News.com, a conservative news site, which leads CNN in TV ratings and has a much broader audience than the NY Times and Washington Post (both of which are behind a firewall) was the source of just three percent of the stories which appeared in Google searches. Undoubtedly this bias serves to depress Fox News’ web traffic and inflates the traffic of the top three.
From the Daily Mail:
The research sheds new light on the unprecedented power the search engine has in influencing the external traffic to news sites, a hot topic in the worlds of media and politics given Facebook’s recently reduced output.
For example, the researchers found that CNN got a 24 percent bump in traffic as a result of having its stories featured in the ‘Top Stories’ box.
The data also revealed that while left-leaning sites produced more articles on any given subject (2.2 times as many as those on the right), Google’s Top Stories selection seemed to inflate the difference.
‘In Google Top Stories, that ratio was 3.2, indicating that the curation algorithm was slightly magnifying the left-leaning skew,’
The study proves what those of us who live on the conservative side of the internet already knew, Google’s search algorithms are biased toward the left. Of course, Google disagrees.
A spokesman for the company said: ‘We have no insight into the methodology these researchers used. Other researchers have found exactly the opposite.
‘The fact is that like Google search and Google News, our top stories feature has absolutely no signal for a story’s political point of view and simply reflects the overall corpus of news and information on the web.’
Using the Google image search engine, I found the perfect reply to the Google company spokesman (see picture below).
Cross-posted with The Lid
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