A new video suggests that Google has been manipulating search results in favor of Hillary Clinton.
The video, which was published Thursday by SourceFed, a news site that covers technology and culture, points out some connections between Google executives and the Clinton campaign that suggest the search engine’s results may have been intentionally altered to promote favorable content about the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.
The video, which has been viewed nearly 10 million times since it was first posted on Thursday, points out that Google’s auto-complete function tends to suggest searches that might redirect a user from finding negative information about Clinton.
By typing “Hillary Clinton cri” into Google’s search bar, the top auto-complete results are “Hillary Clinton crime reform,” “Hillary Clinton crime reform 1994,” and “Hillary Clinton crisis.”
By contrast, the top auto-complete options when searching for the same thing in Yahoo and Bing results in “Hillary Clinton criminal charges,” “Hillary Clinton crimes,” and “Hillary Clinton criminal.”
As The Wall Street Journal‘s Tim Hanrahan has pointed out, discrepancies between the search engines abound.
“The intention is clear: Google is burying potential searches for terms that could’ve hurt Hillary Clinton in the primary elections over the past several months by manipulating recommendations on their site,” SourceFeed’s narrator said.
While there’s no proof that the Clinton campaign requested this type of search result treatment or that Google has benefitted financially from doing so, a series of connections seem to indicate the auto-fills may have been an intentional effort to bury unfavorable content.
Eric Schmidt, who is the executive chairman of Alphabet, the search engine’s parent company, has also been quietly funding The Groundwork, a tech startup that specializes in data analytics and digital outreach and has been working closely with the Clinton campaign to help target voters. Clinton’s chief technology officer, Stephanie Hannon, also happens to be a former Google executive.
In August 2015, a Google spokesman denied their company has had any involvement in manipulating search results in favor of any one candidate.
“Providing relevant answers has been the cornerstone of Google’s approach to search from the very beginning. It would undermine people’s trust in our results and company if we were to change course,” a spokesman for Google told a reporter at Wired under the condition of anonymity.
“I’m sure that many people at Google would be disturbed to discover what we discovered this morning, and we hope that this is just a mistake,” the narrator said.
Google is not the only major tech company to be suspected of manipulating its results in order to favor liberal topics or personalities, or to punish conservative ones. Facebook found itself in the center of a media firestorm earlier this year after former news curators for the social media giant admitted to blacklisting conservative topics from Facebook’s Trending Topics sidebar.