No evidence Google is manipulating search for Hillary Clinton

In a video published yesterday, Sourcefed claimed to have evidence that Google was deliberately manipulating search results to benefit Hillary Clinton. However, when I tried to replicate the results (with a VPN set to show I was in California) I found that I got very different results from what they were claiming:

First at 1:29 in the video they claim that typing Hillary Clinton cri yields the auto-fill suggestions

Hillary Clinton Crime Reform
Hillary Clinton Crisis
Hillary Clinton Crime Bill 1994

However, when I typed in "Hillary Clinton cri" this is what I got:


At 2:11 they claim that when you plug "Hillary Clinton Crime Reform" into Google Trends that there weren't enough searches of the term to build a graph but, when I put the phrase into Google Trends I got the following graph.





(embedded directly from Google)

The term "Hillary Clinton crimes" did indeed yield a bigger graph (as they show in the video) but neither term showed up in my list of suggested autofills. The first one that did appear, "Hillary Clinton Criminal Prosecution" yielded a result in between the other two - however none of these terms were frequently searched. For example, when the term "How to make a bong" is added to the graph, it makes all of the previous search terms seem non-existent by comparison.




I tried a few other experiments mentioned in the video but was unable to reproduce any of their results. I am not saying that the evidence was fabricated, only that I was unable to reproduce it. Snopes reports that they found that the results for Clinton searches were different in Google, Yahoo and Bing (I didn't try Yahoo and Bing) but they also indicate that this is not evidence of manipulation. Snopes ran the experiment with other candidates. They found that on Yahoo and Bing typing in "Donald Trump Sex" turns up "Donald Trump Sex Scandal" but on Google "Donald Trump Sex" provides the suggestion "Donald Trump Sex and the City". Similarly, on Yahoo and Bing typing "Bernie Sanders Com" leads to the suggestion "Bernie Sanders Communist" but typing the same phrase into Google yields "Bernie Sanders Commercials". The word "communist" doesn't show up at all in Google's suggestions despite being number 1 on both Bing and Yahoo.

There is obviously a substantial difference between the algorithms used by the search engines, the types of things people search for on the sites or both.

In the interest of full disclosure I am a Clinton supporter and have been since Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren decided not to run. Also in the interest of full disclosure, Spencer Reed "Editor for @Sourcefed & Host for http://Modrn.TV" who supplied the data for Sourcefed appears to be a heavy duty Bernie Sanders supporter: His Twitter feed is thick with pro-Sanders tweets and retweets:

I am, admittedly, biased but this seems to me to be a disappointed Bernie Sanders supporter tilting at windmills rather than evidence of any unethical behaviour on the part of Clinton or Google.

Here is the original video, via Vubble:


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