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Firms Like Google are a 'Threat to Democracy & Freedom Of Speech' – Researcher

© AP Photo / Marcio Jose SanchezGoogle headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. 2013
Google headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. 2013 - Sputnik International
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified for 3,5 hours in front of the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday rejecting claims of anti-conservative bias. Google chief told lawmakers that the company "provides users with the best experience and the most relevant information," refuting accusations that Google used discriminatory practices in search results.

Earlier, leaked Google internal emails were published by Breitbart news website that showed that the company's employees deliberately tried to block ads from Breitbart right after Donald Trump took office.

READ MORE: Google Has ‘No Plans’ to Launch Censored Search Engine in China — CEO

Sputnik discussed this with Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, who wrote a groundbreaking paper about the Search Engine Manipulation Effect, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Sputnik: The hearing is expected to provide a look into plans by the Democrats on big tech when they take over the House majority in January. What changes should we expect to see on federal privacy laws if any when Democrats take over the House majority in January, what’s your take on that? 

Dr. Robert Epstein: Well, I don’t expect to see any changes. I expect to see the Democrats kind of going through the motions here but not actually acting because Google and Facebook as well have been helping the Democrats and the Democrats are not going to want to change that.

Sputnik: Leaked emails have shown that Google employees sought to block Breitbart from  Google AdSense less than a month after Trump took office, now in your view how much political bias is there in Google?

People are silhouetted as they pose with laptops in front of a screen projected with a Google logo, in this picture illustration taken in Zenica October 29, 2014. - Sputnik International
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Dr. Robert Epstein: There’s extreme bias, the fact 95% of all political donations from Google go to Democrats. Not only that, in 2016 I conducted a monitoring project which showed that Google's search results were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton, whom I supported by the way. And I will shortly announce our findings regarding the monitoring of the 2018 midterm elections and, I can tell you now in advance, that we have again uncovered evidence of considerable bias on Google’s part towards Democrats.

Sputnik: Well it’s very interesting this information you’re sharing, perhaps, you can just explain to our radio Sputnik listeners why there is such a strong ideology from Google as a company that’s underpinned by Democratic ideology itself, but what’s the relationship then? Where does it come from? Why is it being independent? And who is driving this strategy?

The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain, November 1, 2018 - Sputnik International
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Dr. Robert Epstein: Well the strategy is driven by Google's leaders all of whom were on stage in that leaked video. Google's leaders are utopian in their thinking and there’s even a video that leaked from Google a few months ago called the 'Selfish Ledger' in which we see that Google actually has plans for reshaping humanity, literally reshaping humanity in a way that matches the company’s values which are liberal values. Although I sympathize with those values, I think we should all rise above our politics in this kind of situation and realize that companies like Google are real threat to democracy and to personal freedom, and to freedom of speech.

Sputnik: Well, again it’s something that’s very disturbing and fascinating and the same sort of voice when you think about the effect that Google has on every day people’s lives and the reliance that people have on Google that leads to this next question where Google's spoken about potential plans to re-enter China, how likely is it that the current strain between Washington and Beijing, now it's so interesting dynamic this, we’re talking about this ideology and you’re alluding to various things in terms of their liberal approach to various things Google, but wouldn't it be better if Google was focused on developing its brand, developing its profitability, and developing its business in other territories, that’s what shareholder value is all about, isn’t it?

Dr. Robert Epstein: Of course, but China is too big a market and too fast growing a market for Google to ignore. And let’s not forget, that Google already provided a censored search engine to China between 2006 and between 2010 approximately. So, Google has done this before, I think it’s very likely that Google is going to enter China even though lots of people are objecting. Again, it’s just too big a market for the company to ignore.

Sputnik: And the final question again on the same lines. We've got on the one hand Google  stating its committed to working towards the US government and on the other hand there's a lot of potential for the company in China, there's a distinct clash of interest when we think about the policy of the US government and, obviously, trying to calm and be as competitive as possible in terms of its isolation, its America First strategy. In your view, is there any way that the tech giant could act in its own interests above and beyond really what the strategy of the US government is trying to achieve now?

Dr. Robert Epstein: Google doesn't see itself as the United States company. Google provides services in almost 200 countries, pretty much every country in the world. So Google sees itself as international, it sees China as a very important market, the only thing that might keep Google out of China, it's not the US government, it's objections within the company itself, their loss of employees that objective to Google going back to China, and as I say, that could possibly keep the company out of China, but I doubt it, I think we’re going to see in the next year Google active in China once again.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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