Google controls what the vast majority of the world finds on the internet. Being put at the top of the Google results for search is not only immensely lucrative, it is also almost mind-bogglingly powerful in global affairs.
Since 2016, according to multiple reports, Google’s algorithm has been increasingly manipulated to bury and elevate specific information, especially politically charged information. This appears to have strong effects on what people believe and therefore how they vote and respond to polls that inform what politicians do with their power.
A 2018 Wall Street Journal investigation concluded, “The internet giant uses blacklists, algorithm tweaks and an army of contractors to shape what you see.” It reported, among other things:
More than 100 interviews and the Journal’s own testing of Google’s search results reveal:
Google made algorithmic changes to its search results that favor big businesses over smaller ones, and in at least one case made changes on behalf of a major advertiser, eBay Inc., contrary to its public position that it never takes that type of action. The company also boosts some major websites, such as Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
…Despite publicly denying doing so, Google keeps blacklists to remove certain sites or prevent others from surfacing in certain types of results…
In 2016, American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology psychologist Robert Epstein published research showing Google hid negative information about Hillary Clinton. The self-described center-left researcher has also published research showing that hiding information like this influences election results. He testified before the Senate in 2019 about this subject.
The “search engine manipulation effect (SEME)” Epstein has studied, he told Congress, ” is one of the most powerful forms of influence ever discovered in the behavioral sciences, and it is especially dangerous because it is invisible to people – ‘subliminal,; in effect. It leaves people thinking they have made up their own minds, which is very much an illusion… Bottom line: biased search results can easily produce shifts in the opinions and voting preference of undecided voters by 20 percent or more – up to 80 percent in some demographic groups.”
Further, he testified, “A growing body of evidence suggests that Google employees deliberately engineer ephemeral experiences to change people’s thinking.” The appendix of his testimony notes “The methodology of SEME experiments adheres to the highest standards of research in the social and behavioral sciences. All experiments are randomized, controlled, double-blind,
Due to his research, Epstein was interviewed in the 2020 election cycle by Tucker Carlson and Fox News’s “The Five.” A search on YouTube, which Google owns, of the phrase “robert epstein tucker carlson” surfaced their interview at item No. 9 in the results, four or five scrolls down the list, after eight other videos containing either Tucker or Epstein but not both together.
It is very simple to fix this problem of Google tampering with your thinking: Stop using Google’s search engine and start using something else.
A major reason Google remains dominant is that 90 percent of the world uses them for search, so they have more data than any other competitor to make their results better. So the more you use an alternative search engine, the more data you are sharing with competitors to Google to help them improve.
Google controls a lot of things besides search, and essentially all of its major competitors in most domains use their tech power in similar anticompetitive ways. So, for example, I used to have an Android cell phone. Google owns Android. The only other major option for a cell phone is an iPhone. Apple, which of course owns iPhone, also helps the National Security Agency surveil Americans without warrants and has taken anti-conservative actions such as banning the Parler app from its app store.
Right now there’s not a really good solution to the problem of Google and Apple controlling essentially all of the U.S. smartphone market. But there is a really good and easy solution to Google controlling what you see when you search, and having an extremely detailed user profile on you from amassing all your data from using its products: Use Brave for your browser on all your screens (phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc.).
Brave will not only get you away from Google’s Chrome browser that your phone uses if you have an Android (Google) system, it will also get you using the search engine DuckDuckGo instead of Google.
Brave is run by Mozilla founder Brendan Eich, who was kicked out of his own tech company for contributing a small amount to a California campaign to recognize male-female marriage as the only one that matters to society (because it’s the only one that organically generates children). Eich is a free speech advocate, and therefore Brave has a reputation for offering far better privacy than the browsers used as data vacuums by bigs like Google, Apple, and Microsoft.
DuckDuckGo is a search engine also explicitly committed to not manipulating results. The more we all use these two services, the better their results get and the more they reflect what unmanipulated searches show people want to actually find. To use DuckDuckGo as your default search engine, all you have to do is install and use Brave, and every time you type a search into the browser bar it automatically uses DuckDuckGo to get your results. If you’ve been using Google for search, you might be surprised at how different the DuckDuckGo results can look.
To get Brave, just go to your app store and search for “brave browser,” or head over to Brave.com on your device. Here’s what it looks like to start on Brave.com (I’m using…Brave…as my browser in the below picture.) I’ve circled the “Download” button with a giant red oval. Just click that and follow the prompts.
On your phone or a tablet, go to your app store. On an iPhone, that means hit the button circled in red in the image below.
Now search for “brave browser.” If you don’t have it on your phone yet, the part circled in red on the image below will read “get” instead of “open.” (This phone already has it installed.) Hit the “get” button, enter your phone password, and wait for it to install.
Once you’ve installed the app, you might want to put it in your preferred browser location at the bottom of your phone or tablet dock, as shown below with the red circle again. This will make sure you use it as your default browser rather than continuing to use a browser and search that has poorer privacy. You can and should also designate Brave as your default browser app in your tablet or phone “settings” if you didn’t already do that during the app installation process.
If you need further help, find your favorite Zoomer and get them to fix everything up for you.
There’s a lot more to this topic. YouTube is its own ball of wax and it’s a lot harder to avoid YouTube if you want to watch online videos. But refusing to use Google for search is an easy tweak everyone can and should do now to reduce Google’s power over our minds and society.