17 April, 2021

Riots? What Riots?

Google shadowbans news about Minnesota violence in its search results for "riots today" (reclaimthenet.org)

If you can’t trust your search engine, who can you trust?

News about the two nights of violence that erupted in Minnesota following the police shooting of Daunte Wright has been almost totally purged from the Google Search news tab results for the term “riots today.”

With the exception of a single news story from Fox News, which is buried below the fold four results down, the results are dominated by news stories about the less relevant January 6 storming of the US Capitol and riots in Montreal following COVID-19 curfews.

Huh. Interesting. What about other search engines?

Searching for the same “riots today” term in the privacy-focused search engine DuckDuckGo does display unfiltered news stories about the Minnesota violence in its news tab results with eight of the top 10 results covering the unrest in Minnesota.

Imagine that.

Interestingly, the Google Search news tab results for “protests today” are dominated by coverage of the unrest in Minnesota with six of the top 10 results covering the story. The shadowban is only triggered when the searcher characterizes the recent events in Minnesota as “riots.”

Ah. So they’re “protests”, not “riots”. I would love to see how their algorithm made that choice and to see if it had any outside help in its decision making process.

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