A story has come out of the UK suggesting that Google might alter search results when “extremist” queries are entered into Google. These queries would then be “diverted” to anti-extremist or anti-radical content and sites instead. In one way, given today’s extremism that is going on the world stage, this would make sense, but changing where search queries would take users simply because of political reasons is scary. Where would search alterations end once the floodgate opened?
But, it seems that the suggested story isn’t really happening.
There were a couple articles that came out of The Guardian and The Telegraph that implied that organic results would be changed to remove or suppress radical content sources. If this happened, would Google decide that it’s ok to alter other organic search results? As I said above, where would it all end once that floodgate opened?
Back to the story – would Google decide to censor results related to bomb making or queries hat seemed to have bomb making implications? In truth, Google isn’t doing that. They aren’t going to alter or censer the search results at all. Google is actually giving away ad credits to organizations that are fighting extremism. It all boils down to ads.
It was confirmed by Google that the pilot program that was being talked about in the articles involved Google AdWords Grants for non-profit organizations. With the AdWords Grants program, any non-profit or non-government organization (NGO) that qualified for the program would receive $10,000 worth of AdWords credits every month if certain criteria was met.
Any NGO that promoted anti-radicalization would be able to utilize the credits to advertise against extremist queries. Ultimately, this isn’t any different from somebody selecting keywords for ad targeting on Google. These organizations are being enabled bh Google to participate in the AdWords Grants Program.