Typing “Crooked Hillary” into Google isn’t getting the result many were hoping for, and now there are allegations that the search engine giant is stifling results that might look bad for the Democratic Party’s frontrunner.
Republican Party presumptive nominee Donald Trump coined the nickname “Crooked Hillary” in an effort to define his likely November opponent, using it to hit Hillary Clinton on her numerous past scandals and her current FBI investigation. The nickname has taken off among Trump supporters (and Clinton opponents), with many using it on Twitter to reference Clinton and Trump using it almost daily.
There is even a half-hearted effort among some Trump supporters to manipulate search results for “Crooked Hillary,” with some sharing unflattering pictures of Clinton in an effort to bring them to the front page of Google.
But now there are accusations that Google is actively trying to stifle those search results for “Crooked Hillary” so viewers can’t see Trump’s attacks on Clinton. As many have noted, the search engine’s auto-fill takes over as users are trying to type in “Crooked Hillary,” instead suggesting they search for “crooked hillary bernie” (which was still the result as of Sunday morning).
As Wizbang noted, the search result appears purposely tilted to keep people from seeing Donald Trump’s attacks on Hillary Clinton.
“According to Google’s auto-complete formula, the phrase ‘Crooked Hillary’ really doesn’t exist as a stand-alone phrase, even though Donald Trump mentions it several times in every campaign rally or interview and includes the phrase in tweets. Then there’s the millions of tweets, Facebook posts, and media mentions of this latest Trump nickname.”
Google has denied the claims, saying a number of factors are at play, but favoritism toward Hillary Clinton is not among them.
“Autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms. Our systems are periodically updated to improve Search, and our users’ search activity varies, so the terms that appear in Autocomplete may change over time.
“Additionally, our systems automatically filter a small set of offensive or inappropriate content from autocomplete predictions.
“There is no difference between how our removal filters operate among candidates.”
Search Engine Land noted that the company’s denial offered on Friday was vague, and didn’t seem to explain it. The justification also didn’t sit well with Clinton opponents who believe that the media has conspired to protect the Democratic Party’s frontrunner from criticism.
Even Bernie Sanders is now hinting at that claim, saying this weekend that media outlets should refrain from referring to Clinton as the party’s nominee after this Tuesday’s set of primaries that include delegate-rich California and New Jersey.
“Now, I have heard reports that Secretary Clinton has said it’s all going to be over on Tuesday night. I have heard reports that the media, after the New Jersey results come in, are going to declare that it is all over. That simply is not accurate,” Sanders said (via the Washington Post).
Search Engine Land noted that Google doesn’t seem to offer the same protection to Trump’s other opponents. Typing “lying” into Google will lead to a suggestion of “Lying Ted,” which was Trump’s nickname for the now-vanquished opponent, Ted Cruz.
There doesn’t seem to be much of a good reason to filter out “Crooked Hillary” but leave “Lying Ted,” Search Engine Land noted. While Cruz’s nickname has been around a bit longer, as Trump had a more pressing need to define his Republican opponent before turning to Hillary Clinton, Search Engine Land noted that both are about even in terms of search popularity.
[Photo by David Calvert/Getty Images]