December 5, 2016

"Tech-savvy rightwingers have been able to ‘game’ the algorithms of internet giants and create a new reality where Hitler is a good guy, Jews are evil and… Donald Trump becomes president."

The subtitle of "Google, democracy and the truth about internet search," a Guardian article by Carole Cadwalladr. (I know: Your first thought is I really want to move that e from her first name to her last name.)

58 comments:

MayBee said...

(I know: Your first thought is I really want to move that e from her first name to her last name.)

hahahahahaha!

Hagar said...

Christianity and Islam are both Jewish heresies.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

It's tough to keep up: are the rightwingers all ignorant inbred hillbillies (clinging to their guns & religion) or are they nefarious super-smart tech lovers using their l33t skillz to hack the Gibson that is the body politic?

Anglelyne said...

I'm glad we can still rely on the Guardian to keep us well-informed and alert about how those nefarious rightwingers are distorting and manipulating our media and search engines. Bless you, Guardian, for doing what needs to be done to give our free and honest press, and the disinterested owners of tech gateways, a fighting chance against these fascists.

Sebastian said...

Didn't The Guardian get the memo that Jews are evil? I mean, with West Bank construction and war crimes in Gaza and saber rattling toward Iran and that madman Bibi insulting O and building a racist Apartheid wall against supposed terror and denying water or concrete or whatever to the poor Palestinians, surely even The Guardian knows by now that Jews are uniquely evil. Left and right have converged, again.

JAORE said...

No, my first thought was, "No need to read THIS crap".

I read plenty of left leaning sites. This appears (just from your lead in) to go far beyond that type of opinion.

We have all the crazy we need today, thanks. Perhaps tomorrow.

campy said...

It's tough to keep up: are the rightwingers all ignorant inbred hillbillies (clinging to their guns & religion) or are they nefarious super-smart tech lovers using their l33t skillz to hack the Gibson that is the body politic?

Embrace the power of "And".

tcrosse said...

Straw man alert.

Humperdink said...

So can I deuce from the "Hitler is a Good Guy" part of the headline, that this is the crowd that elected Donald Trump? Just asking.

Lyin'PB_Ombudsman said...

"Embrace the power of "And"." "And" was already embraced where it didn't belong. BHO used "or," and there where five options, not two.

holdfast said...

Yeah, because the British hard Left has always been such a friend to the Jews.

Well, OK, a friend to Jews with names like Feliks Derzinsky.

Paul Zrimsek said...

This is silly stuff even by the standards of the New Red Scare. Someone looking for a sweeping generalization about a group is going to be directed mostly to stuff written by that group's enemies? Who knew?

Bob Boyd said...

She's doing to Trump voters and Brexit supporters the same thing the organized anti-Semites do to the Jews, ascribe to them all sorts of nefarious motives, dark alliances, secret powers, then call for something to be done about them. She's no less of an ignorant, paranoid crank than those she was so horrified to discover were posting online.

YoungHegelian said...

...Hitler is a good guy...

That's just so wrong.

Everyone at The Guardian knows that the only right thing to do is to manipulate the search engines so that Stalin & Mao are good guys.

Roy Jacobsen said...

Need to alter that sentence a bit. "Fascism and antisemitism are always descending on the right, but landing on the left.

damikesc said...

Yes, Holocaust Denial leads directly to Trump becoming President. Sure.

Hey, what party wants a Congressperson with, uh, INTERESTING views on Jews to be the head of that party?

Henry said...

There's a whole lot of breathless at that article. That map is beautifully manipulated.

“I scraped the trackers on these sites and I was absolutely dumbfounded. Every time someone likes one of these posts on Facebook or visits one of these websites, the scripts are then following you around the web. And this enables data-mining and influencing companies like Cambridge Analytica to precisely target individuals, to follow them around the web, and to send them highly personalised political messages. This is a propaganda machine. It’s targeting people individually to recruit them to an idea. It’s a level of social engineering that I’ve never seen before. They’re capturing people and then keeping them on an emotional leash and never letting them go.”

OMG, they're just like EVERY OTHER MARKETING SITE ON THE WEB.

Matthew Sablan said...

... The writer does know when people on the right say "Hitler did nothing wrong," they are using it sarcastically to make fun of the people on the left who insist that there are no universal truths or who support dictators like Castro, right?

Right? She... she knows this, right?

Matthew Sablan said...

Hey, what did the left think when people gamed the Google algorithm so insulting things came up when you Googled conservative politicians?

Remember when Google bombing things was cool?

Paul Zrimsek said...

I googled "48 celebrities from the 80s ask whether Jews know the One Weird Trick". What happened next will blow your mind!

rehajm said...

Somehow this will become irrefutable evidence Republicans shouldn't lower tax rates.

rhhardin said...

As ye grep so shall ye grok.

Matthew Sablan said...

I'm calling Bull Shit.

Fun fact. I just went to Google and typed "are jews"

"White" came up. "A race" came up. Both of these can be questions that aren't necessarily Nazi-esque, even if they could be "problematic."

You know what didn't come up? "Evil." "Evil" did not come up in Google's auto fill. Even when I typed "are jews e". I'd like everyone else to try and see what comes up. I'm calling Total Bull Shit.

Matthew Sablan said...

Further fake news bull shit: I don't get the "are women evil" auto complete either.

What is the author doing that caused Google to auto fill that for her?

Matthew Sablan said...

More bull shit: When I type Jew in Google, the first result I get is Wiki, JewFAQ.org and the World Jewish Congress. JewWatch.org doesn't show up on the first page at all. Did she bother to check if, in 10 years, Google's algorithm had solved this problem that I can in no way verify?

Matthew Sablan said...

The "are Muslims bad" auto complete happens. First two results:

"I had no Idea how bad Islam was until I dated a Muslim..."

And:

How to Stop Viewing Islam As a Bad Religion: 15 Steps.

A mixed bag, even if you go down the rest of the first page. Did she Google: "Are Christians bad" to see what comes up?

I can't get the "was Hitler bad" auto complete either.

This entire article is bull shit, and whoever published it didn't even bother to fact check GOOGLE searches.

Matthew Sablan said...

P.S., the only "are women" auto complete I get? "are women stronger than men."

Howard said...

are white people
are republicans
are democrats
are... anyone

then nasty shit comes up. Another vast right wing conspiracy

Matthew Sablan said...

"Did such micro-targeted propaganda – currently legal – swing the Brexit vote?"

-- Remember when Obama's micro-targeting was brilliant politics?

Matthew Sablan said...

When I type in "do blacks" I get "do blacksmiths make guns" as an auto complete. Not "commit more crime."

What are all these people in her story Googling to get this special, racist, sexist, bigoted Google?

Bob Boyd said...

Matthew Sablan is right. I tried it and I didn't get "Are Jews evil" as an option. However, once you have typed "are Jews evil", the next time you type "are Jews...", the question "are Jews evil" will probably come up as an option.
The same thing happens if you type in "are Pugs evil". And there are people posting articles and videos about the evils of Pugs.

Phil said...

It's not Google providing the autocomplete, it's their browser's cache. They've typed that search before and they get it again.

Matthew Sablan said...

"It's not Google providing the autocomplete, it's their browser's cache. They've typed that search before and they get it again."

-- Hm. So an incognito browser would give us an untainted search history, right? So we could use that to see what Google really auto completes?

Phil said...

Or just clear cache.

Phil said...

Bob Boyd, the evil pugs videos look like they might be worth revisiting.

Fernandinande said...

Meta-fake news.

Matthew Sablan said...
I'm calling Bull Shit.


I also got different google suggestions, which varied between browsers except for "are white people [evil]", which was consistent.

Matthew Sablan said...

Going incognito only changed my auto completes a bit [got rid of the blacksmiths question, which I guess means at some point I must have legitimately asked Google that.]

Ron Winkleheimer said...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2016/12/05/google-removes-anti-semitic-suggestion-autocomplete-feature/

Matthew Sablan said...

If all it took was asking Google to fix it, I am even more confused about the point of the article.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

are jews e in bing gives embalmed, ethnic, embalmed before burial, ethnic religions, etc. None of which appear to be anti-semitic.

Bob Boyd said...

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that an unacceptably high percentage of Pug news is fake news. And we need a way we can all agree on to curate Pug videos.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Charlie Beckett, a professor in the school of media and communications at LSE, tells me: “We’ve been arguing for some time now that plurality of news media is good. Diversity is good. Critiquing the mainstream media is good. But now… it’s gone wildly out of control. What Jonathan Albright’s research has shown is that this isn’t a byproduct of the internet. And it’s not even being done for commercial reasons. It’s motivated by ideology, by people who are quite deliberately trying to destabilise the internet.”

This is the money graph. Call for censorship. Regulate on-line speech so that the "wrong" people don't spread "dangerous lies."

Which will of course be anything those in power find inconvenient in any way.

rehajm said...

Slightly OT: For the Luddites I recommend The Secret Rules of Modern Living: Algorithms on Netflix.

Bruce Hayden said...

It may not be the browser's autocomplete, but something does autocompletes, and they are tailored to my previous searches. I am thinking that it is Google, since I move around platforms a lot (2 PCs, laptop, 3 iPads, and an iPhone). Just like I get Amazon ads in the middle of articles that correspond very closely to stuff I searched for or bought there. I am still getting quick disconnect battery cable ads (and, indeed, battery cable related ads in general) from a set I bought in August. The problem is that I tend to stay signed onto Google (esp. for this blog), Amazon, etc. on a fairly continuous basis. Life online is just easier if you stay signed onto these core companies. So, to truly test things out, you probably need to sign out of Google, etc., and also purge your cookies (where your account names are maintained), while purging your viewing history.

EMD said...

Carole is giving Welshpersons a bad name.

EMD said...

""It's not Google providing the autocomplete, it's their browser's cache. They've typed that search before and they get it again.""

It's Google. The browser is just a shell.

Martin said...

I am a Jew who thinks Hitler was evil and I voted for Trump.

This whole thing cuts both ways. I know liberal people who get most of their "news" from their Facebook feeds and are scared that Trump is about to unleash hordes of skinheads on them. When I tell them that FB's algorithms give them mainly what they "want" to see, based on their past usage of FB and what the algos can glean of their preferences, so as rigid liberals they only see one side (as would rigid conservatives), they look at me like they have never heard this before.

FB is not being evil, they have sound business reasons to make the space they give their users a good place for advertisers. A happy person is more likely to buy things, so give 'em what they want. Can't fault Zuck for that.

The issue will not be settled by censorship, it can only be addressed by people becoming smarter about their sources of information. If they insist on staying stuck on stupid, we will all eventually reap the consequences.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

mine is

'do black ants bite'
'do black holes exist'
'do black people get head lice'

oh noes!

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

mine is

...
'do black people get head lice'


Now you're just nit-picking.

RichardJohnson said...

holdfast
Yeah, because the British hard Left has always been such a friend to the Jews. Well, OK, a friend to Jews with names like Feliks Derzinsky.

If you are referring to the founder of the Soviet secret police, a.k.a. Felix Dzerzhinsky, we find out that Felix Dzerzhinsk was raised as a Roman Catholic,as a child he wanted to become a Jesuit priest, and his family belonged to the Polish nobility. Not to many Jewish folk among the Polish nobility.

Some old Bolsheviks who were Jewish were Leon Trotsky and Lazar Kaganovich,a Stalinist appartchik who died five months before the demise of the Soviet Union.

RichardJohnson said...

holdfast
Yeah, because the British hard Left has always been such a friend to the Jews. Well, OK, a friend to Jews with names like Feliks Derzinsky.

If you are referring to the founder of the Soviet secret police, a.k.a. Felix Dzerzhinsky, we find out that Felix Dzerzhinsk was raised as a Roman Catholic,as a child he wanted to become a Jesuit priest, and his family belonged to the Polish nobility. Not to many Jewish folk among the Polish nobility.

Some old Bolsheviks who were Jewish were Leon Trotsky and Lazar Kaganovich,a Stalinist appartchik who died five months before the demise of the Soviet Union.

Darrell said...

British Lefties are pushing the lie that the KKK is a significant part of Trump's victory, instead of the some 600 insignificant loons nationwide that they really are.

Darrell said...

Carole Cadwalladr is part of the new alt-Left. Scary shit that.

Luke Lea said...

Are white people evil comes right out on top. So there.

Mary Beth said...

I agree that Danny Sullivan is the person to talk to but I got the feeling from the article that he was just reacting to her statements about the results she had gotten. I don't know what suggestions they were getting that led to "are women evil" I didn't get that as an auto-complete and when I Googled that question, the top result was a Salon article.

It's been harder for people to manipulate search results since the Penguin update (2012). No more Google bombs, but there can still be curious auto-completes. Those are influenced by the sites available and by what people are searching for. (I know Google looks at what you've searched for before and I wouldn't be surprised if it also made suggestions based on what people with a similar browsing history look for.) It could be that a TV show, a celebrity, or a politician said something about evil women. Or maybe there was a meme that was hot at that time. During the election, for example, typing "Hillary for p" got "Hillary for prison" as a top result. "Cruz is" got "Cruz is the Zodiac killer".

That's not to say that Google doesn't do some manipulation. Type in "Muslims are terrorists" and look at the top result.

Phil said...

Bob, one of the top results I get for "are pugs e" is "are pugs even real". Maybe the news isn't all that's fake!!!1!1!

SukieTawdry said...

@Henry: OMG, they're just like EVERY OTHER MARKETING SITE ON THE WEB.

Really LOL. As I was reading that I thought, oh FFS doesn't she even know how marketing on the Internet works?? Then later I was astonished to learn that there are people who think Jews and women are evil and some of them actually have websites promoting their beliefs and those websites will show up in search engines. I mean, can you imagine? Most troubling, however, was discovering that the types of results I see and their order has an impact on my perspective. Necessarily. I didn't realize I was so impressionable. Presumably, if Google autocompletes my search of "Jews are" with "evil," I'm in great danger of starting to think Jews are in fact evil.

After that, I got bored and stopped reading. I did see, though, that the next article down says Google has altered its search autocomplete to remove the "Jews are evil" and "women are evil" choices.

bgates said...

I quite enjoyed that her solution to the problem of people taking to the internet to claim that certain Jews have acquired vast fortunes and influence through shadowy means, was to write a column for the Guardian warning that we need to investigate what the billionaires who run Facebook and Google are up to.