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Does Google Distort Its Search Results In Order To Promote a Political Agenda

There have been recent claims Google is biased against certain political groups. One claim stated "I know there are efforts to demote anything non-PC, anti-Communist and anti-Islamic terror from search results." The question arises: Does Google demote men’s rights webpages. Is the Brebeirt article accurate or just extremist nonsense?

To test whether or not Google is demoting web pages affiliated with men’s rights issues, 6 topic were queried. The topics chosen were: men's rights, women's rights, men's rights blog, anti feminist blog, feminist blog and Men going their own way. Google search results were compared with its closest competitor, Bing.  Searches were repeated on 5 different days to assure the results would be reasonably consistent. The web browser Firefox was used to conduct the study. Its cache was cleared after every search.

Google's results from the first query 'men's rights' appears below.
The search engine returned 2 pages discussing men's rights favorably but 6 pages undermining men’s rights. Additionally, there were two other pages that seemed out of place.

Only the 6th ranked site, the Men's Rights subreddit, and the 9th ranked site, a MotherJones article, portrayed men's rights in a positive manner. The other webpages held a mostly negative view of men's rights.

The 1st ranked result is a Wikipedia article describing the men’s rights movement. The article gives equal weight to men’s rights issues and criticism of the men’s rights movement. The article's format creates doubt about the validity of most men’s rights claims. 

The 2nd ranked site is an article from the website MotherJones. The first half of the article offers a reasonable overview of Warren Farewell's rebellion against feminism. The second half of the article devolves into undermining the men's rights movement and stereotyping men's rights activists (MRA's) as violent extremists.

The 3rd ranked site is a page from RationalWiki. The page mainly attempts to discredit the men's rights movement.

The 4th ranked site is an article from the Huffington Post. It seems out of place for a top 10 search result. The article does not encompass an array of men's rights topics nor discuss the men's movement in general. Instead, it only discusses Harvey Weinstein and workplace sexual harassment. The author interviews men’s rights activists about the allegations against Weinstein. She also records MRA's thoughts on workplace sexual harassment. The author then types her counter arguments underneath their statements. How does this weak article rank as number 4 for men's rights?

The 5th ranked site is an article from 'The Cut'. The article stereotypes men's rights activists as right wing extremists. Additionally, the article subtlety promotes racism.

The 7th ranked site is a GQ article. The write-up paints men’s rights activists as angry extremists.

The 8th ranked site is an obituary & tribute to feminist Karen Defcrow. The article discusses her sympathetic views toward men's issues but explains Decrow never fully broke with the feminist movement. While well written, the webpage is only indirectly associated with men's rights. Its implausible Google's algorithms could not find another page more directly  correlated with men's rights. Decrow's tribute seems out of place for a top 10 search result.

The 10th ranked TIME article tries to undermine men's rights by subtlety creating the impression MRA's are violent and sexist.

Bing's results for 'men's rights' were somewhat better. They appear below.

The search engine returned 4 pages discussing men's rights favorably but 5 sites criticizing men’s rights. Additionally, the NPR article ranked 8th, was objective and informative despite not actually promoting men's rights.

The 1st ranked "Mens Rights' website, 2nd ranked 'Men's Rights' subreddit, 5th ranked Brebeirt article and 9th ranked 'Mens Activism' website all portrayed men's rights in a positive manner. The remaining sites undermine, criticize and negatively stereotype the men's rights movement. It should be noted, the 10th ranked result, 'Mens Rights Activism' is a fake men's rights web page. It opposes men’s rights and criticizes the men’s rights movement. Fortunately, its no longer active.

Both search engines returned a large number of webpages undermining men's rights. Google, in particular demoted webpages showing men's rights in a positive manner. Google's treatment of men's rights was then compared to its treatment of women's rights. Would the search engine giant demote women's rights pages in favor of those critical of the movement as it had done with men's rights pages? Google's output appears below. 
As seen, all web pages listed promote women’s rights in a positive manner. There were no articles questioning the women's movement. There were no counter arguments to the movement's accusations. There were no pages critical of the women's movement's conduct. This indicates some level of double standard within Google.  Bing's results for 'women's rights' (not shown) were similar. All web pages discuss women's rights favorably. However, Bing's double standard is not as pronounced as Google's since Bing's output for men's rights was better than Google's output.

The next topic is 'men's rights blog'. Google's results are shown below.

There were 4 legitimate men's rights webpages, 1 page sympathetic to men's rights activists and 4 sites criticizing men’s rights. There was one other site that was hard to classify. Google's output for this topic varied greatly during the study. However, at no time, did Google ever return more than 5 legitimate men’s rights webpages. The sample output shown above was selected as a reasonable representation of Google's responses over a 5 day period.

The first 3 websites and the 7th ranked 'Mens Rights of Edmonton' blog promote men's rights. The 10th ranked MotherJones article is sympathetic toward female MRA's. The remaining sites were mostly negative toward men's rights

The 4th ranked site, from the Huffington Post, is written by a feminist who hates the men's rights movement.
The 5th ranked site, from gwennseemel.com, tries to appropriate the men’s rights movement by claiming feminism fights for men.
The 6th ranked site from 'The Cut' is written by a male feminist who despises the men's rights movement and claims they are right wing extremists.
The 8th ranked site is 'Return of Kings". This is a pick up artist website that was tough to classify. It emphasizes men should seek out women yet claims most western women are toxic.  It recommends men protect themselves from narcissistic women yet expresses hatred toward MRA's for defending male victims of domestic violence. The website is predominately pro marriage yet recognizes western family laws have become anti husband. Return of Kings contradictory articles indicate the website is unsure of its own principles. Thus, it was hard to classify.
The 9th ranked site is from Mel Magazine. It is an anti men’s rights article with overtones of racism.

Bing's results were much better and appear below.
There were 7 legitimate men’s rights webpages and 2 sites criticizing men's rights. Additionally, the NPR article ranked 6th, was informative as discussed above.

Only the 2nd and 3rd ranked pages criticize and undermine men's rights.
The 2nd ranked site from "Cracked' is strongly opposed to men’s rights and negatively stereotypes MRA's
The 3rd ranked site is the fake men's rights web page MensrightsActivism.

Anyone querying Google for the topic of men's rights or men's rights blog will be shown a fairly large number of webpages criticizing the movement. Conversely, anyone searching for women's rights will be shown no pages criticizing the movement. Additionally, Google displays a higher number of pages expressing hostility towards men’s rights than Bing. It does seem Google is de-ranking men's rights webpages in favor of those trying to undermine the movement.

The next topic is anti feminist blog. Google's results appear below.
Google returned more pro feminist pages than anti feminist pages. There were 4 anti feminist oriented sites but 6 pro feminist web pages

The number 1 listed site 'Women Against Feminism' and the number 6 listed site, the twitter hashtag #antifeminist, are anti feminist pages. Additionally, the 9th ranked site, a National Review article, details an example of feminist buffoonery while the 10th ranked site is an article criticizing modern feminism. All other results are pro feminist. The Indiegogo Antifeminist movie is pro feminist. It puts a more pleasant face on feminism.

Bing's results are much better and appear below.
 There were 7 legitimate anti feminist pages and 3 pro feminist pages.

Only the 4th, 9th and 10th ranked sites were pro feminist.
The 4th ranked site, a Washington Post article, ridicules the website 'Women Against Feminism' even going so far as quoting notorious sexist Jessica Valenti
The 9th ranked site is a list of feminist blogs while the 10th ranked site is a feminist website.

Bing's output is clearly more accurate than Google's output. It almost seems as if Google is trying to stamp out any criticism of feminism.

Google's treatment of anti feminism was then compared with its treatment of feminism. The topic 'feminist blog' was queried. The results appear below.
All listed sites are pro feminist. Occasionally, a Slate article may be ranked 10th.  Its author attacks the feminist website 'Jezebel' as petty extremists however the article's writer still supports feminism. There is no other site offering any criticism of feminism. Google's accuracy for 'feminist blog' and 'anti feminist blog' is quite different.

The last topic is 'Men Going Their Own Way (Mgtow). Google's results appear below.
The search engine retuned 5 objective or pro Mgtow pages and 4 pages criticizing Mgtow followers. One page was neutral.

The 1st ranked page gives an object account of Mgtow while the 2nd, 7th and 9th ranked sites are pro Mgtow. The remaining sites mostly mock and dismiss Mgtow men.

The 3rd ranked page is an article from Vice.com. It presents an exaggerated view of Mgtow philosophy and claims they have hateful rhetoric. Vice mocks false rape allegations & attempts to create anger between MRA's and Mgtow.
The 4th ranked page, RationalWiki, dismisses the movement and portrays them as sexists.
The 5th ranked page is an article from Medium.com. The author does a reasonable job describing Mgtow views but then explains why he believes these men are wrong.
The 6h ranked page is from the online news site Independent.uk. Its report criticizes Mgtow and presents them as sexists.
The 10th ranked page is from an Australian news site. This page was categorized as neutral. It recounted real life events that turned men toward Mgtow philosophy and concluded society must focus on creating long term healthy relationships. The article did not offer any solutions to the issues raised by the Mgtow men they interviewed.

Bing's results were somewhat different.
The search engine retuned 5 objective or pro Mgtow pages, 3 pages criticizing Mgtow followers and 1 page that was neutral. One other page was deemed a bad query result.

The 1st, 2nd, 5th and 10th ranked pages are pro Mgtow while the 4th ranked site, a Wikipedia article, gives an objective description of Mgtow.

The number 3 ranked page is an article from the pick-up artist website 'Return of the Kings'. The page mocks and insults Mgtow men.
The 6th ranked page is a Quora question asking for opinions on Mgtow. This was categorized as a bad result. It offers no real information. There are over 40 opinions contradicting each other and making various accusations without supporting evidence. This page would probably leave a user confused.
The 7th, 8th and 9th ranked pages are from Vice, an Australian news site and RationalWiki. They were all discussed above in Google's results.

Additionally, the Australian news site displayed above is sometimes replaced by 'mgtowforums'.  The forum is pro Mgtow, but very few threads are updated. 

Lastlyy, Bing sometimes displays 3 video links. The links are regularly changed. In the output above, all 3 videos were sympathetic toward Mgtow.

The two search engines did not differ excessively for this topic. The only real difference was Bing's video links. The video's Bing displays are usually sympathetic toward Mgtow.

Based on the findings of this study, the Brebeirt article has merit. Across all 3 main topics (men's rights, anti feminism and Mtgow), Google demoted websites promoting men's issues in favor of pages undermining men's issues. Google's output displayed a high number of webpages criticizing men's rights and anti feminism despite the user specifically requesting a men's rights or anti feminist oriented website.  This does not happen when users request a women's rights or feminist website. Additionally, Bing was more objective than Google. Bing displayed a lower number of pages undermining men’s rights, anti feminism and Mgtow. Bing's output more accurately matched the user's query.

Google may no longer be the most accurate or objective search engine on the internet.



February 10, 2018

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

I did what you did. I was labelled a conspiracy theorist. Or being upset because my blog did not appear in the Google search results...

Nothing ironic....

Unless you consider the FACT that all the criticism/beratement came from mras mgtows and anti feminists...

You tell me...whats wierder?

Rob said...

Did you have an MRA oriented blog? If so, I don't know why MRA's would criticize you - especially if you compared the results to Bing as well as women's rights websites.
It does seem as if Google is using a different standard for men's and women's rights.

John Schultz said...

nicely done. we struggle on in seeming solitude yet have no doubt my brother that you are not alone.

Rob said...

Thanks John

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Thanks!

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