In the last post I mentioned to Google saying that it has its responsibilities in the diffusion of fake news, and in fact I realized that I always gave it "taken for granted", but that I had never read around something, some analysis, any article that (in addition to the clear role of Facebook) also examine the role of Google.
The problem is that when you think of google, you think about the search engine. We do not think instead of the whole galaxy of services that google has on its feet, ranging from Gmail to Youtube, to Google News.
Of course, if we believe that Google is just a search engine, everything seems to be going well. But we need to understand one thing. Which to use the search engine are mainly people, say "classic", that is people who, for reasons of age, are inclined to look for a writing that explains things. Let me explain:
if I want to know how to change a given piece of the bicycle, let's say about a search brand, I go to Google and write something like "Fahrrad Steuersatz <brand / type> ersetzen". I will find some links, and then I will probably get a PDF with the instructions.
If I ask my daughter the same thing, she doesn't even waste time opening google. Go to Youtube and type "tutorial Fahrrad Steuersatz <brand / type> ersetzen". It doesn't even lose time, to "read". No one of his generation does it: why read a PDF when you have a nice video that tells you how the hell it is?
Now, I believe that when we talk about social networks we are underestimating the power of Youtube a bit: although everyone believes that the "influencers" were born on Instagram, in reality the concept comes from the Youtuber.
Youtube, on the other hand, has many functions of a social network, although it is not a proper social media. In short: google has a big responsibility. If we look at the 2016 electoral campaign, to say, we find all the most controversial characters, from Ben Shapiro to Milo Yannoupoulos, sometimes with channels that reach the audience that we in Italy are used to attribute to national television channels.
We consider that the videos of a Vlogger as contrapoints reaches one million and broken video views: we are talking about a real television program.
In the last post I did some tests, which I take back here:
Now, I omit on the "special 7000 subscribers": what perplexes me is that the conspiracy theorists are definitely overrepresented by the Youtube algorithm. There are two cases:
- Or the conspiracy theorists are the vast majority, and then the algorithm is fair but Youtube is a tool for conspiracy theorists.
- Either the conspiracy theorists are a minority, or at least as numerous as the debunkers, and then Youtube over-represents them in searches.
Tertium non datur.
So I'm sorry: Google's social network exists, it's called Youtube, and it has a GIGANTIC role in spreading fake news and conspiracy theories.
Now let's go to the other buffalo spread tool: google news.
With the illuminati we go slightly better, in the sense that there are also critical voices.
As you can see, on two Google channels we find quantities of fake news that I would call at least "worrying".
Why, then, when we talk about social networks that spread fake news and hoaxes, do we only talk about facebook? The good old Voltie gives us the answer:
The problem is that Google, along with Google News, brings a lot of traffic to the newspapers. And the algorithm with which the traffic is sent is an enigma shrouded in mystery. But if we assume that only 30% of the traffic of any newspaper is sent by google or google news, we have the answer: no newspaper can do without Google
In practice, NO JOURNAL is allowed to associate Google and Fake News too aggressively. Although Facebook is now forced to keep a low profile, or to operate quietly (so you don't know what another profile sees), Google is operating giant fake news campaigns under the eyes of all, and no newspaper dares to say it. The risk of being downgraded on page 2 of the search engine, or not being mentioned by Google News, is too high.
If we then assume that almost all the newspapers use Google Ads to bring advertising to the pages, let's see what's the point: Google is keeping most of the Western press. For this reason, no newspaper will ever have the courage to say what I just said here, and if they do, they will certainly not use the same tones.
From this point of view, therefore, Google is the Unnamed Unnamed, that which no one ever associates with a discourse on fake news, which no one ever associates with populist discourse, and at the same time everyone knows what happens on Youtube, on Google News , but everyone is too afraid to take it against him.
In the next episode: Amazon and the spread of conspiracy, racist and populist books. How press freedom is being used against freedom of conscience.