2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

2012 Elections: News, Analysis, Videos, and Breaking on the Presidential Election, Local Elections, and More

Complete coverage of the 2012 election

Google Accused of Anti-Romney Bias

By Barbara E. Hernandez
|  Thursday, Oct 11, 2012  |  Updated 1:35 PM CDT
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Is Google showing its liberal bias when its image search for "completely wrong" yields photo of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney?  Actually, no, the company said: it's based on comments Romney made last week.

Google said that the unintentional result happened because the Google algorithm was fed Romney comments last week  about how he was "completely wrong" when he said earlier this year at a fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans were "victims" dependent on the government, according to CNN. The algorithm associates popular news headlines with their images, and hence the "completely wrong" search term gained traction.

"Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said last week after the secret video of the comments were leaked to the public.  "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
 
There are such things as "Google bombs," or intentionally negative search results (see "santorum") but this does not appear to be the case.
 
Despite the plausible explanation, Fox News drew attention to Google's "left-leaning" company culture, and talking head Sean Hannity questioned the company's possible bias.
 
The truth is that comments made by candidates become part of their search results. Romney's words were tagged to his image, but voters will likely decide who to vote for on their own and not by Googling candidate photos.

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