Taking a break from covering Muslim crime in France, Alt Right troll site Breitbart.com got a big scoop today that apparently proves big tech is inherently biased against conservatism.
An anonymous source sent the crack reporters a video recorded by Google shortly after the 2016 presidential election that, as former right hand man to Milo Yiannopolous, Allum Bokhari reports, "Reveals an atmosphere of panic and dismay amongst the tech giant’s leadership, coupled with a determination to thwart both the Trump agenda and the broader populist movement emerging around the globe."
"The video is a full recording of Google’s first all-hands meeting following the 2016 election (these weekly meetings are known inside the company as “TGIF” or “Thank God It’s Friday” meetings)," continues Bokhari.
"It features co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, VPs Kent Walker and Eileen Naughton, CFO Ruth Porat, and CEO Sundar Pichai."
"These individuals, who preside over a company with unrivaled influence over the flow of information, can be seen disparaging the motivations of Trump voters and plotting ways to use their vast resources to thwart the Trump agenda."
These are bold charges, but unfortunately for Breitbart, they are about as credible as the president they so dearly love.
Here is the video in full, and then a sample portion of Breitbart's summary of the comments proving the supposed bias (and no, we don't link to Breitbart):
- 0:34:40) Brin compares Trump voters to “extremists,” arguing for a correlation between the economic background of Trump supporters and the kinds of voters who back extremist movements. Brin says that “voting is not a rational act” and that not all of Trump’s support can be attributed to “income disparity.” He suggests that Trump voters might have been motivated by boredom rather than legitimate concerns.
- (00:49:10) An employee asks if Google is willing to “invest in grassroots, hyper-local efforts to bring tools and services and understanding of Google products and knowledge” so that people can “make informed decisions that are best for themselves.” Pichai’s response: Google will ensure its “educational products” reach “segments of the population [they] are not [currently] fully reaching.”
- (00:54:33) An employee asks what Google is going to do about “misinformation” and “fake news” shared by “low-information voters.” Pichai responds by stating that “investments in machine learning and AI” are a “big opportunity” to fix the problem.
- (00:56:12) Responding to an audience member, Walker says Google must ensure the rise of populism doesn’t turn into “a world war or something catastrophic … and instead is a blip, a hiccup.”
- (00:58:22) Brin compares Trump voters to supporters of fascism and communism, linking the former movement to “boredom,” which Brin previously linked to Trump voters. “It sort of sneaks up sometimes, really bad things” says Brin.
I've just provided a snap shot of the exhaustive summary notes provided by Bokhari, but you can get the general gist of where he is going with this. According to Bokhari, because Google employees were shocked and upset by the election of an ethno-nationalistic bigot who bragged about grabbing women "by the pussy", they must be building a product to undermine conservatism.
Bokhari cites suggestions about building products to help people "make informed decisions that are best for themselves," and do something about combatting "fake news" and "misinformation" as proof of a grand conspiracy. He provides no evidence whatsoever to suggest Google is doing anything untoward with its algorithm to favor left wing journalism over right wing journalism. It is just a summary of the deep concern many employees at Google felt after the election and a call to action in order to prevent US democracy being undermined by false information and unsavory nation states. If Google is working to suppress this type of fact free garbage, then more credit to them.
Google responded to Breitbart with the following statement:
At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season. For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings. Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products. To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint.”
While there are certainly huge problems with the giant tech companies influence over media distribution and monetization, this isn't one of them, and no real evidence has surfaced to prove otherwise.
This isn't a journalistic scoop, but a reaffirmation that a) Breitbarts is a total joke, and b) Google employees are normal human beings.
Bokhari has been busy tweeting away about his big breaking story, but it should be remembered that he works for a website that does not adhere to the basic rules of journalism, and should not be considered by anyone to be a credible source of information. Predictably, the story falls apart under the slightest bit of scrutiny, and will not be taken seriously by anyone outside of the Breitbart/Fox News bubble.
Breitbart is InfoWars Lite, not an opposite to The New York Times, and writers like Bokhari would do well to remember that when putting up silly pieces like this.