Does Search Narrate and Select Political Candidates?

Are search engines biased? Is it possible for search engines to mask some content yet show others? Of course.

What Search Engines Are Doing to Fight Misinformation and Harmful Content

Regarding harmful content, search engines are vocal about protecting users. As far back as the early internet, it’s been a concern.

(See A Case For Regulation Or The Need For Non-Commercial Alternatives?, James Kovacs, 1998)

The problem is harmful to whom? A shadow ban is only part of how big technology controls the narrative. The media defines harmful content as:

  • Age-restricted,
  • Anti-social behavior,
  • Controversial topics,
  • Educational or scientific,
  • Harmful or dangerous,
  • Harm or neglect of a minor,
  • Sexual misconduct or abuse,
  • Violence against a minority,
  • Violence against women,

To be fair, Google broadly defines harmful or dangerous content.

Some categories of harmful content are reasonable. While other categories are subjective. The subjective nature is why the topic of shadow banning is so interesting.

He who defines harmful controls the flow of information. You gain influence over those who are looking for answers.

Let’s look at the search engine’s influence on elections.

![[202312-Shaman-for-Congress.png]] Screenshot, Shaman for Congress, Jacob Angeli Chansley for Congress

Search Engines Favor Some Candidates and Negatively Present Others

A search for shaman for congress or jacob chansley for congress should return his website, but they don’t.

Screenshot, Duck Duck Go search for shaman for congress

The platforms know who he is; they have media coverage. But a primary source, the candidate’s website, is missing.

YouTube player

The Jimmy Dore Show. Everything You Know About the “QAnon Shaman” Is Wrong! (YouTube)

News coverage is primarily negative and reinforces misleading information.

For example, the media called him the “QAnon Shaman,” not his branding.

In contrast, searching for marc lewis for congress returns no media coverage. Every search result is the candidate’s website.

Have you seen this website? Big technology and mainstream media hope you don’t:

Screenshot, Duck Duck Go search for marc lewis for congress

A search for additional Arizona’s 8th Congressional District election, 2024 candidates biased towards Democratic party candidates.

Candidate Trent Franks gets a similar treatment as Shaman.

Screenshot, Duck Duck Go search for trent franks for congress

I’m using screenshots from Duck Duck Go because it claims not to track and provides fair results.

However, their failure to present all candidates equally was typical of Google, Bing, and others. Every search engine I checked had a similar skew.

Screenshot, Bing search for shaman for congress

What does this say about our political system? Are voters informed about their choices or conditioned to vote using big technology?

Fact Check: Search Engines Are Balanced and Shadow Banning Is Not A Thing

DISCLAIMER: The claims and evidence provided in this article represent a small sample. And the following is sarcasm. Do your due diligence (and consider carefully how you make decisions.)

What is the empirical evidence that search engines are biased or impacting elections? What do the experts say about search bias?

According to Stanford University, there was no search bias along partisan lines. That’s what I got when I searched for evidence of search bias around elections, which further demonstrates the problem.

Screenshot, Duck Duck Go Search Proving No Search Engine Bias

So many educational institutions and fact-checking organizations could not be wrong. After all, the search engine tells me it is so.

There is no reason to think media bias sabotages your decision-making or that search engines are biased.

You decide. But be careful where you look for answers. It may harm you in more ways than you can imagine.

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