An extensive report by AllSides reveals Google News is biased against conservatives, but there is no evidence that Google News bias is intentionally rigged.
AllSides’ 39-page Google News Bias research report reveals Google news bias is heavily Left-leaning. AllSides found Google News is biased 65% toward Left and Left-leaning news sources.
In August, President Trump claimed Google is “rigged” against him, and that Google is “suppressing voices of conservatives.” In December 2018, Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared on Capitol Hill and was grilled about bias, which he denied.
AllSides provides media bias ratings for hundreds of media outlets, rating the outlets as Left, Lean Left, Center, Lean Right, or Right. We used these ratings to assess the bias of Google News.
The study included 123 different measurements of Google News bias over two weeks, from August 23 to September 5, 2018. Eighty-eight of those measurements looked at the number of links that pointed to Left or Center or Right media sources. Because the vast majority of traffic goes to the very first links displayed on Google, AllSides also took into consideration link position. We gave the top 5 links more weight than those that appeared lower on the page.
The aggregate result indicates that the overall bias of Google News is 65% Left, 20% Center, 16% Right.
On average, AllSides found Left outlets were consistently among the top two Google News results. Center outlets were in the top five or six results, and Right outlets appeared at 12.2 — below “the fold,” meaning that users would have to scroll down the window on their computer screen before they would see them.
When we browse information via online technologies — such as search engines and social media — there is a spotlight on the most linked-to or most popular perspectives, or perspectives that confirm our existing beliefs and biases. This can hurt our ability to be exposed to new information and ideas, challenge our beliefs and decide for ourselves.
Google News bias may be due to the fact that most online news comes from a Left perspective. Online news consumers are also younger and lean farther Left than the average American, directly impacting which articles Google’s algorithm selects and how high it places them on the page. But is this serving Americans, or just polarizing us further?
"Google has a serious decision to make," said AllSides President John Gable. "Do they just want to reflect the most popular content online, or empower people to think and decide for themselves by providing a diversity of perspective and thought?"
AllSides' research bolsters conservatives' claims of Google News bias, while anti-Trump folks and progressives can rest easy knowing there's no evidence that Google News bias is intentionally rigged.
What do you think — is Google News bias contributing to political polarization in America? Should Google be a popularity algorithm, or empower us to see multiple perspectives?
View the full AllSides Google News Bias Report here. The report has gained coverage in nearly 70 media outlets nationwide, including USA Today.