Democratic Senators Push Google To Limit Information In A Letter That Google Is Burying

This is a genuinely ominous story for several reasons. It’s also consistent with a recent theme on Ethics Alarms and in the Left’s increasingly anti-democratic philosophy of governing.

Reuters (and so far no other news source that I can find) is reporting that

U.S. lawmakers are urging Alphabet Inc’s leading Google search engine to give accurate results to people seeking abortions rather than sometimes sending them to “crisis pregnancy centers,” which steer woman away from the procedures. The request came in a letter, whose top signatories are Senator Mark Warner and Representative Elissa Slotkin, being sent to Google on Friday.

The letter was prompted by a study released last week by the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate. The study found that 11% of the results for a search for an “abortion clinic near me” or “abortion pill” in some states were for centers that oppose abortion.

…The letter to Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai and was signed by 13 senators and three members of the U.S. House of Representatives as of midmorning Friday. All are Democrats.

“Google should not be displaying anti-abortion fake clinics or crisis pregnancy centers in search results for users that are searching for an ‘abortion clinic’ or ‘abortion pill,'” the lawmakers wrote.

“If Google must continue showing these misleading results in search results and Google Maps, the results should, at the very least, be appropriately labeled,” they wrote…

So far, nobody, including Reuters (and definitely not Google), has made the full text of the letter public. If the Reuters report is accurate, however, this effort isn’t just unethical, it is sinister.The topic happens to be abortion, which isn’t surprising since abortion has become the Holy Grail of the entire progressive movement, blocking out reason, perspective, proportion and restraint. However, the topic is secondary. Lawmakers have no business pressuring Big Tech companies, or any other companies, regarding how they should construct or deliver their products and services unless the conduct involved is dangerous or illegal.  A letter from members of Congress suggesting/demanding anything always comes with the whiff of “Nice little business you have here…be a shame if anything were to happen to it…” 

The effort to make Google promote abortion as the only solution to an unwanted pregnancy is particularly noxious, however, as well as hypocritical in the extreme. The dishonest pro-abortion propaganda has always emphasized “choice,” as if women (or “birthing people”) were being prevented from choosing the color that they prefer in blouses. Yet what the signatories of this mystery letter appear to be objecting to is that options other than abortion might appear in a Google search by women seeking abortions.

What is the presumed danger in that, if and when it occurs? Are Warner and Slotkin worried that a woman might be inspired to consider options other than killing the fetus, and, worse still, choose one of them? That appears to be their objection.

Have these lawmakers ever used Google? I use it constantly, even though its many biases and flaws are both troubling and inconvenient. A search result virtually always is a mixed bag and not 100% (75%…50%…) what I’m looking for. Sometimes, those misfires trigger a new idea, or another inquiry entirely. That’s why the free and open circulation of information, and universal access to it, is an essential ingredient of invention, creativity, critical thinking, human growth, and, ideally, being an American.

Totalitarians, in contrast, believe that the path to the kind of society they, in their unquestionable wisdom, want to construct is endangered by the “wrong” kind of information, as well as dissent and non-conforming opinions. Thus they want to control what the public reads, hears, and can say or write. Our current totalitarians—and I still don’t completely understand how the party that once stood for classic principles of liberalism rotted to this degree—is already working harder each day to accomplish this, and recruiting Big Tech to the cause is a major part of the effort. The Left has already corrupted 90% or more of the mainstream media.

I tried to search for links to the Google letter story on Google. It never appeared: nobody who hadn’t already seen the Reuters report could possibly locate it. It was only when I included “Reuters” with the other search terms that it popped up, and then only in a single result.

I’m fairly certain Big Tech is already on board with the Left’s agenda.

That’s probably why the letter was sent in the first place.

12 thoughts on “Democratic Senators Push Google To Limit Information In A Letter That Google Is Burying

  1. It seems to me that the Democrats have decided that the best way to advance their ideas is to prevent the opposition from speaking, or having any kind of platform upon which to be heard.

    Sooner or later, this is going to require a reckoning. At what point is there a cause of action against the federal government for deliberately enlisting the private sector in censorship? There are already decisions out there stating that such an arrangement violates the First Amendment.

    Perhaps the first thing Congress should do if Republicans take charge is create a private cause of action against this, if it doesn’t already exist.

  2. “I still don’t completely understand how the party that once stood for classic principles of liberalism rotted to this degree” I don’t think the Democrats party EVER actually stood for those pinciples. They borrowed the language when it suited them, and managed to co-opt the label ‘liberal’, but they only did so as long as it was useful to them. They managed to convince a large number of people otherwise as part of the long march through the institutions. Hence arguments such as ‘freedom from want’, which is intrinsically incompatible with actual freedom and liberty. They didn’t want actual freedom, they wanted to impose their system instead of the current dominant one.

    Don’t get me wrong, the Republican Party isn’t much better. They pay lip service to liberty slightly more reliably in my opinion and actually seem to be somewhat more likely to leave others to their own choices AND consequences. It’s that last bit that is necessary for liberty to function, and which people tend to want to suppress or increase when it suits them.

    • Yes!!!

      They did borrow the freedom language when the pretended to want tolerance for all. When they pretended to want all voices heard.

      All they ever wanted was their agenda to be pushed and they’d do whatever necessary to have it happen.

      I never used to believe this.

      I used to defend them
      As caring and compassionate people.

      It’s revolting how they are behaving.

      Great comment.

  3. “Yet what the signatories of this mystery letter appear to be objecting to is that options other than abortion might appear in a Google search by women seeking abortions.”

    I think that what they are objecting to is an “abortion crises centre” doesn’t provide their anti abortion guidance online but pretends to be an abortion centre and it is not until they raise the money and travel to get there that they find out that rather than meeting a doctor and getting an abortion they are met by people who are there solely to dissuade them from getting the service that they came there for.

    It appears to me that a clinic advertising itself as providing one service and providing the complete opposite is fraud. Is that right?

    • Since I can’t find the whole letter, I’m not sure. However, since Google’s methodology causes most organizations and entities to stuff key words into its description to try to get “found” on the earliest Google search page possible, literally everyone tries to end up in as many search “nets” as possible. Then it’s up to the searcher to check, read, and figure out whether the actual activities fit what they are looking for.

      Fraud would involve actually taking someone’s money for an abortion when it won’t provide one. Using words to attract someone who thinks they want an abortion to get them to think abut a “crisis center” that doesn’t offer that solution can be debated as ethical from a utilitarian viewpoint, and if Google wants to ban all such efforts in all topics, that its choice (Good luck with that!) Is it unethical for alcoholism treatments centers to use key words that make them pop up when someone is looking for a place to buy rotgut for a binge?

      I should do a post on that issue.

  4. I wonder how much of this arises out of technological ignorance.

    Google searches using algorithms that are not fool-proof. Crisis centers and abortion clinics probably have a huge overlap in content that results in an overlap in search results. They are essentially demanding a search algorithm that is unerring.

    I am not that techno-savvy, but even I can see that is not reasonable

    -Jut

    • Well, I *am* pretty techno-savvy, and you’re about half-right. A more “pure” web search engine that simply gave you the results it found based on keywords would indeed act like that, and it would also be mostly-useless. (Have you used AltaVista recently?)

      The fact is that a search engine actually NEEDS to be biased and have some insight into the deeper context of the content in order to actually have a shot at bringing you the results you’re actually trying to find. Google is exceptional at this, and it’s the primary reason Big-G is so damn big today. But it’s also the reason Big-G gets caught doing things that people generally agree it shouldn’t, like playing favorites with political candidates and actively suppressing certain results when they get queried from within a certain country that unleashed a certain gain-of-function-enhanced virus onto the world.

      If you do a little research into Google, you’ll find that THE ALGORITHM™ has reached a level of sophistication today that they can and do bias the results (including and especially those suggestions that appear under the box as you’re typing) with a deliberate eye towards steering public opinion in ways that are beneficial to themselves.

      So on the one hand, YES, it’s completely normal and expected that a good search engine will give biased results–biased in favor of their best estimate of what it is you actually want–but they’ll inevitably fall short of that at times. They do really want to minimize how often that happens.

      But on the other hand, NO, they definitely do NOT use their extensive knowledge of the subject matter (and of YOU and your personal details–but that’s another matter entirely) to give you the results that you want. They give you the results THEY want you to get, and the extent to which those things overlap is unknown.

      What IS known, however, is that they absolutely have the ability to know to difference between an abortion clinic and an anti-abortion clinic. If they give results for both, it very likely means that they think you–individually–are probably looking for both.

      Oh, and they’ve also made a note that you’re probably pregnant and will most definitely start sending you ads for diapers and other baby products.

      –Dwayne

  5. Jut, You made the point I was going to. “Abortion” would be a key word employed by either provider which means that the search engine will return listing that have that word in the text. The algorithm does not contextualize words.

    I would add one thing if 11% of the results were deemed to not be exactly for the service of interest 89% were. The highest value I saw referenced was 38% meaning 62% efficacy. It seems to me that someone looking for a service could find one easily enough that met the criteria even if some were the opposite of what was looked for. I could also point out that the term comprehensive women’s health care is as fraudulent as another commenter suggested the anti-abortion sites were or at least they are absolutely misinformation. Women’s health involves far more than just abortion services and limited gynecological services. Referrals for mammography are not what I would call services. To advertise that abortion clinics are comprehensive health facilities is a joke. Planned Parenthood offers an abbreviated list of health services, yet they claim that a provider that offers a much broader array of services for women but not abortions is not providing comprehensive health services. At least in Maryland, PP is the go-to place for transgender hormone therapy. No doubt that will sterilize quite a few.

    Finally, why did the nonprofit Center for Countering Digital Hate conduct a study on this issue? I could argue that people seeking to promote abortion actually hate minorities because abortion wipes out 40% of the black pregnancies per year. Using my statistics that is nearly four times the 11% figure they cited as evidence of hate.

  6. There are entirely too many *enthusiastic* baby killer dems.
    The party of gun control that doesn’t work but not the party of birth control that mostly does, brilliant.
    Shun them, shame them, as a proven path to a healthy holy better life.

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