Google employees discussed ways to tweak search results so that they would counter the Trump administration’s 2017 travel ban, according to internal emails seen by The Wall Street Journal.
Senior employees discussed ways that Google’s search engine could show users how to contribute to pro-immigration organisations and contact lawmakers and government agencies.
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The ideas were never implemented, Google claims.
However, the news is likely to contribute to criticism that tech companies stifle Right-wing voices.
Donald Trump has previously signalled he is considering regulating Google more tightly after he claimed the search engine’s news section was “rigged” against Right-wing media.”I think Google is really taking advantage of our people,” Trump said last month.
“Google, and Twitter and Facebook, they are really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful.”
The US president’s travel ban, which generated a public outcry, temporarily barred visitors and immigrants from seven majority Muslim countries.
He claimed it was needed to protect the US from Islamist militants.
The Supreme Court upheld the measure in June.
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The emails reveal Google employees proposed ways to “leverage” search functions to counter “Islamophobic, algorithmically biased results from search terms ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, ‘Iran’, etc” as well as “biased search results from search terms such as ‘Mexico’, ‘Hispanic’, ‘Latino”‘.
They show an internal debate inside the company over the proposed intervention. One employee wrote: “we’re absolutely in…Anything you need.”
A Google spokesman said the emails represented brainstorming and none of the ideas was implemented.
She said the company did not manipulate search results or modify products to promote political views.”Our processes and policies would not have allowed for any manipulation of search results to promote political ideologies,” the spokesman said in a statement.
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