The following is an excerpt from Jacob Brogan | July 27, 2016 | Slate.com |
Early Wednesday morning, a Columbus, Ohio–based NBC affiliate identified a peculiar quirk in Google’s results. When you plug the term “presidential candidates” into the search engine, an info box of “Active Campaigns” auto-populates at the top of the page. Three (mostly) familiar faces show up in that box: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Jill Stein. Donald Trump—along with Libertarian candidate Gary Jonson and cult favorite contenders such as Vermin Supreme—was nowhere to found.
Though Donald Trump may not have a real campaign by any ordinary political standard, he clearly deserves to be on that list, as does Johnson, who has performed reasonably well on several recent polls. It’s not immediately clear what’s happening here, but it seems more likely that it’s the result of some glitch in the info box algorithm than of malicious manipulation. While several users on Reddit—a site that has, as Benjy Sarlin has reported, been taken over by Trump supporters—blame these results on bias or institutional censorship, it’s probably not that simple. Among other things, the presence of Sanders—whose campaign is, of course, definitively no longer active, to his supporters’ disappointment—make it more likely that the site is simply pulling its data from bad sources.
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