Google blacklists American Thinker and reverses it after its blacklisting of conservative sites is exposed

Yesterday, what Google calls a "technical error" exposed a blacklist of multiple conservative sites, including American Thinker.  After the blacklisting became obvious and generated commentary among conservative publications (and crickets among the dominant MSM propaganda organs), it appears to have been reversed.

The blacklist became blatantly obvious when a Google search for "American Thinker" revealed no items from our site, but rather articles elsewhere that mentioned us.  John Eidson did a screen grab during the blacklist:

This morning, the ban on material beginning www.americanthinker.com was no longer visible:

Google is employing bafflegab to explain away the blacklist, as Rudy Takala of Mediaite reports:

In a jargon-filled statement, Google said it was looking into the issue, but failed to offer any explanation. "We are aware of an issue with the site: command that may fail to show some or any indexed pages from a website," the company said in a post published on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. "We are investigating this and any potentially related issues."

In response to an inquiry from Mediaite, a spokesman for Google added, "This issue affected a number of sites representing a range of different content and viewpoints. This issue was a technical error unrelated to the content or ideology of the sites affected."

Neither statement spoke to the reason certain websites were included on the list. It may have been manually curated, Wacker said, or it may have been the product of an algorithm. That algorithm could have been created by a human, or it could also have been created by an AI that found something about the affected websites so offensive — such as the way users share their content, or the keywords used by those sites — that it blocked them.

"One possibility is that sites on this blacklist are being penalized, and the glitch was that the penalty was accidentally set so high that these sites were effectively removed from Google search," Wacker said. "I've found that a lot of people tend to conflate algorithms with AI since they're both automated, but AI isn't as objective and mechanical as algorithms are."

Tristan Justice of The Federalist suspects that this was a test prior to blacklisting conservative sites for the election.

Google appeared to test its ability to blacklist conservative media Tuesday from its monopolized search engine which garners at least 3.5 billion online searches everyday making up 94 percent of the internet's search share. (snip)

The latest bout of censorship comes just weeks after the California tech giant threatened to demonetize The Federalist following NBC collusion with a foreign left-wing think tank which filed a complaint over the conservative website's reporting on media malpractice in its coverage of recent violent inner-city riots. While NBC News first celebrated Google's decision to de-platform a competitor, the search company clarified that the website had not been banned and instead, it merely threatened to demonetize The Federalist for content in the comments sections. YouTube meanwhile, which is owned by Google, remains notorious for hosting the most nefarious comments sections on the entire internet.

In a statement to The Federalist, Google claimed it was a simple technical error, not a deliberate attempt to censor certain content or sites. It's not possible to independently confirm whether Google's explanation is accurate.

"Today we became aware of an issue that impacted some navigational and site: operator queries. We investigated and have since fixed the issue," said a Google spokesperson. "This affected a number of sites representing a range of different content and viewpoints. This issue was a technical error unrelated to the content or ideology of the sites affected."

Former Google engineer Tom Wacker, who was fired after exposing political bias, suspects something very similar:

"One possibility is that sites on this blacklist are being penalized, and the glitch was that the penalty was accidentally set so high that these sites were effectively removed from Google search," Wacker said. "I've found that a lot of people tend to conflate algorithms with AI since they're both automated, but AI isn't as objective and mechanical as algorithms are."

I'd like to see Sundar Pichai called to testify before the Senate and explain how this happened, given his prior testimony:

Any manual manipulation would conflict with testimony Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivered to Congress in December 2018, when he told a House committee the company did not "manually intervene on any search result."

How this blacklist and reversal occurred without manual manipulation is a mystery to me.

At a minimum,  Google should provide a comprehensive list of all sites that were blacklisted, so the ideological content of the blacklistees can be independently evaluated.

Yesterday, what Google calls a "technical error" exposed a blacklist of multiple conservative sites, including American Thinker.  After the blacklisting became obvious and generated commentary among conservative publications (and crickets among the dominant MSM propaganda organs), it appears to have been reversed.

The blacklist became blatantly obvious when a Google search for "American Thinker" revealed no items from our site, but rather articles elsewhere that mentioned us.  John Eidson did a screen grab during the blacklist:

This morning, the ban on material beginning www.americanthinker.com was no longer visible:

Google is employing bafflegab to explain away the blacklist, as Rudy Takala of Mediaite reports:

In a jargon-filled statement, Google said it was looking into the issue, but failed to offer any explanation. "We are aware of an issue with the site: command that may fail to show some or any indexed pages from a website," the company said in a post published on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. "We are investigating this and any potentially related issues."

In response to an inquiry from Mediaite, a spokesman for Google added, "This issue affected a number of sites representing a range of different content and viewpoints. This issue was a technical error unrelated to the content or ideology of the sites affected."

Neither statement spoke to the reason certain websites were included on the list. It may have been manually curated, Wacker said, or it may have been the product of an algorithm. That algorithm could have been created by a human, or it could also have been created by an AI that found something about the affected websites so offensive — such as the way users share their content, or the keywords used by those sites — that it blocked them.

"One possibility is that sites on this blacklist are being penalized, and the glitch was that the penalty was accidentally set so high that these sites were effectively removed from Google search," Wacker said. "I've found that a lot of people tend to conflate algorithms with AI since they're both automated, but AI isn't as objective and mechanical as algorithms are."

Tristan Justice of The Federalist suspects that this was a test prior to blacklisting conservative sites for the election.

Google appeared to test its ability to blacklist conservative media Tuesday from its monopolized search engine which garners at least 3.5 billion online searches everyday making up 94 percent of the internet's search share. (snip)

The latest bout of censorship comes just weeks after the California tech giant threatened to demonetize The Federalist following NBC collusion with a foreign left-wing think tank which filed a complaint over the conservative website's reporting on media malpractice in its coverage of recent violent inner-city riots. While NBC News first celebrated Google's decision to de-platform a competitor, the search company clarified that the website had not been banned and instead, it merely threatened to demonetize The Federalist for content in the comments sections. YouTube meanwhile, which is owned by Google, remains notorious for hosting the most nefarious comments sections on the entire internet.

In a statement to The Federalist, Google claimed it was a simple technical error, not a deliberate attempt to censor certain content or sites. It's not possible to independently confirm whether Google's explanation is accurate.

"Today we became aware of an issue that impacted some navigational and site: operator queries. We investigated and have since fixed the issue," said a Google spokesperson. "This affected a number of sites representing a range of different content and viewpoints. This issue was a technical error unrelated to the content or ideology of the sites affected."

Former Google engineer Tom Wacker, who was fired after exposing political bias, suspects something very similar:

"One possibility is that sites on this blacklist are being penalized, and the glitch was that the penalty was accidentally set so high that these sites were effectively removed from Google search," Wacker said. "I've found that a lot of people tend to conflate algorithms with AI since they're both automated, but AI isn't as objective and mechanical as algorithms are."

I'd like to see Sundar Pichai called to testify before the Senate and explain how this happened, given his prior testimony:

Any manual manipulation would conflict with testimony Google CEO Sundar Pichai delivered to Congress in December 2018, when he told a House committee the company did not "manually intervene on any search result."

How this blacklist and reversal occurred without manual manipulation is a mystery to me.

At a minimum,  Google should provide a comprehensive list of all sites that were blacklisted, so the ideological content of the blacklistees can be independently evaluated.