Whether or not you agree with any of what’s happening in U.S. politics right now, this revelation should really bother you—provided that it is all true. A leaked video and documents appear to suggest Google might be censoring political views in an attempt to allegedly “prevent” the next “Trump situation.” Allegations about Google’s censorship come from an apparent whistleblower who approached conservative watchdog Project Veritas with supposedly leaked documents.
Project Veritas captures video on hidden cameras
In a post on its website, Project Veritas described the documents it received from the alleged whistleblower. The investigative site also shared a video of a Google executive it captured using a hidden camera.
The video shows executive Jen Gennai, head of Responsible Innovation at Google, making some questionable comments about the company’s alleged attempts to influence the 2020 presidential election against President Trump. Google’s “Responsible Innovation” division is tasked with evaluating artificial intelligence implementation for responsibility.
For example, the video captured her saying, “We all got screwed over in 2016,” a reference to the presidential election in that year. “… Everybody got screwed over so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again.”
She also said Google employees have been “training our algorithms, like if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”
Project Veritas tweeted its video and posted it on its website. The investigative site also uploaded it to YouTube, where it was soon removed due to “privacy” concerns.
— Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) June 24, 2019
Google exec responds to Project Veritas
Gennai has since responded to the Google censorship allegations with her own post on Medium calling out Project Veritas’ methods in capturing the video of her. She said she has been receiving death threats since the site posted its report.
According to Gennai, she was invited to dinner by “a few people who claimed to be from ‘2 Step Tech solutions'” who wanted to talk about a “mentoring program for young women of color in tech.”
“Unfortunately, I now know that these people lied about their true identities, filmed me without my consent, selectively edited and spliced the video to distort my words and the actions of my employer, and published it widely online,” she wrote. “I now know they believe to a group called ‘Project Veritas,’ which has done this to numerous other people working in the tech and other sectors.”
She accuses Project Veritas of wanting “juicy soundbites about tech’s alleged bias against conservatives.” She also claims the site “edited the video to make it seem that I am a powerful executive who was confirming that Google is working to alter the 2020 election.” She states that her actual intent was to explain how Google’s Trust and Safety team “is working to help prevent the types of online foreign interference that happened in 2016.”
She also accuses the site of “stitch[ing] together a series of debunked conspiracy theories” about Google’s products and search results.
Alleged company documents leaked
The Google insider who allegedly approached Project Veritas also shared some documents they claimed came from the company. The insider claims that Google uses “Machine Learning Fairness” to promote a particular political agenda. The documents describe the problem of “algorithmic unfairness,” which Google is trying to solve.
The person shared some examples of web searches, which we were able to replicate in part. For example, auto-complete suggestions for a search for “women can” include “women can vote,” “women can do it,” and “women can do anything.” Searching for “men can” brings up the suggestions “men can have babies,” “men can get pregnant,” and “men can have periods.” I guess if that’s equality, I don’t know what reality is actually like. Unfortunately, these suggestions for what men can supposedly do don’t fit with reality.
The alleged Google insider accuses Google of trying to “redefine a reality based on what they think is fair and based upon what they want and what is part of their agenda.” The person also alleges that Google has an editorial agenda and shared documents which supposedly explain how the company prioritizes and features news from certain publishers over others and may even demote content from select influencers.
The documents Project Veritas shared to back up its Google censorship claims can be viewed here.
Google not the first Big Tech name to be accused of censorship
Google is certainly not the first Big Tech company to be accused of censorship. You may recall that Facebook dealt with similar accusations a few years ago. The social network’s “Trending” feature was called out as liberal leaning. The company ended making some changes to try to eliminate the liberal bias, but that created a whole new set of problems.
The uproar eventually died down, but then Facebook announced last year that it was overhauling its News Feed last year to make it more “valuable” by basically deciding what users should find to be important. Initial reactions to the announcement were negative, but that controversy died down too. It’s probably only a matter of time before the Google censorship allegations also blow away.