Google autocomplete and the Tories

3 February 2016

david cameron government There's been a lot of conspiracy theorists yelling into their timelines this week, regarding Google's tax arrangements with the Conservative Party, and how the Tories come up in Google's autocomplete in searches.

If you missed the chat about this, basically, if you go to Google and tap in 'Labour are', or 'Lib Dems are', you'll get a variety of autosuggestions, such as 'finished', 'scum', 'a joke', and 'traitors'. If you tap in 'Tories are' or 'Conservatives are', you'll get... well... nothing!

Now, some people think that Google have done the Tory government a little favour, because they didn't bust their nuts trying to get a load of tax out of them. Basically, conspiracy theorists think that Google censored its search results to please a party who let them pay £130m in back taxes, instead of a larger amount.

Such is the fuss over this, Google have had to deny this is the case. A spokesperson for the internet giant spoke to the Guardian, saying that the company "can categorically state that tax is not remotely connected to this, nor are their ‘conspiracy theories’ founded in any way".

"Autocomplete predictions are produced based on a number of factors including the popularity of search terms." However, the company "do remove offensive or inappropriate content from autocomplete predictions."

So maybe, Tories are just better at getting offensive stuff removed from the autosuggested terms than the Lib Dems and Labour?

There are some online though, which aren't exactly nice to the Conservative Party. If you tap in 'the Conservative party is', you get offered 'your enemy'. There's also these, which were results today.

tories google

Anyway, whatever is going on here, there is actually a page where you can report offensive autocomplete results, if that's how you like spending your time. If you want to look at that, click here.

TOPICS:   Technology   Government

1 comment

  • Geoff
    This is all very well but whats odd is that NO suggestions came up .... suggesting that someone has deliberately turned off auto complete for Tories and Conservatives or reset the statistics for both search terms and limited the ones which are returned. Tories a now offers 'nd Whigs' now appears when it didn't yesterday. Tories b tories c tories d tories e tories f ... etc NOTHING .... that takes a lot of doing for a private entity - but is a relatively straightforward task if you have access at GOOGLE. No other search engine is affected in this way. It's possilbe the Tories have simply paid agencies other than Google to manipulate search results. If so they really should admit they regard this as legitmate manipulation. One wonders what other detail they plan to erase from the internet in the future. There is certainly no sign of Boris Johsons locked out off his house in his boxer shorts online any longer !

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