However, the idea of removing ads because of 'false claims' can only lead to censorship in the future. The list of what's considered false will inevitably grow over time and put a lot of power in the hands of whoever is deciding the 'truthiness' of claims. It isn't difficult to imagine this being applied inconsistently in countries further away from Western politcal norms. This does give Google a lot of power in shaping political discourse and influence outside of US and EU territories.
We know from how they've handled disputes on YouTube, disabled Gmail and developer accounts that this process unlikely have any better transparency than we've seen to date.
I'd argue that political advertising would require greater transparency and I'm not convinced that Google has the capability or the motivation to provide it.
you might be right, but the reality is that the world has a large problem with disinformation and false claims right now that's causing real negative consequences for real people. Stopping the spread of false information is a good thing that should be done.
Letting blatant lies control our political processes now just to prevent future potential censorship in the future is not a good compromise.
Besides, the category 'things which are false but that gullible people might be persuaded by' is basically what the political process deals with. Along with 'things that are true but naive people don't believe'. Clamp down on that and you might as well just get rid of elections as there isn't a lot to poll people on.
It is possible to draw a vague philosophical parallel between SEO and lying, but in practice they aren't going to be similar. I don't know what similarities you see so I can't argue with them, but dealing with SEO doesn't involve figuring out whether the SEO is done truthfully or not. I'd imagine much SEO is done in the service of truth (sell you X for $Y style arrangements) that just happens to turn up in unwanted places.
Showing something that is blatantly false is much harder when all information sources become jammed.
Read more: https://www.rand.org/pubs/perspectives/PE198.html
This is wishful thinking in response to an overreaction. This sort of thing isn’t worth sacrificing speech over, largely because it won’t work (for ex: Infowars is still extremely popular even without social media accounts) and the costs of false positives will out weigh the returns.
We have several 10's of millions of people killed in the 20th century that put this statement, which is speculative at best, to the lie. People killed because disinformation, mob-rousing, and lies were permitted to poison the commons.
Can you expand on what you mean by this? It seems we have more transparency than ever before into how governments are operating (mostly corruption) and that's a good thing. What negative consequences do you see coming from false claims?
I suspect the answer to this question might highlight why people are nervous about Google (or any company) being the arbiter of truth.
Honestly, i don't even know where to begin with being asked to explain why lies are bad
Ultimately you're just handing control over speech to the arbiters of "true" and "false", who are themselves political creatures.
Sometimes we just have to accept some bad things in our society, because the consequence of eliminating them is worse. See also: The War On Drugs.
It seems to me that good old fashioned state/media propaganda are a much larger problem than any false claims circulating on the internet.
1) “Vaccines are safe”
2) “Vaccines cause, rather than prevent, illnesses”.
If 1 is true, the antivaxx movement is risking tens of millions of lives and >>billions of disability adjusted years of life expectancy.
If 2 is true, vaccines are a multibillion dollar fraud.
Anti-vaxxers are probably incorrect, but you are also the victim of a misinformation campaign. Limiting them doesn't help you get better information.
It is indeed a very dangerous statement, because it leads the scientifically illiterate to think that they don't need to speak frankly with their doctor for health advice. For example, your 'harmless' statement led to my brother incorrectly receiving the MMR vaccine. You see, he has hemophilia ,which is a contra-indication to receive the vaccine. Hemophilia is relatively common enough (because, according to the CDC, any blood clotting disorder that extends bleeding time, is a contraindication for MMR). He ended up having severe seizures as a child.
Or moreover, neither my daughter nor I should (or should have, in my case) receive the MMR vaccine as infants due to a family history of sometimes severe immune issues. These are also relatively common conditions.
I'm not an anti-vaxxer, BTW. I'm just following CDC recommendations, to the T: https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd/should-not-vacc.html
Neither of this means that most people should receive MMR. But not everyone should. MMR is not 100% safe. No vaccine is, even if the general benefits outweigh the cons.
Ironically, I thought this would be a better choice than a Brexit/the EU example.
No, a lie is a deception carried out by means of an untrue statement. "1 + 1 = 3" is not a lie, but an accountant claiming such in order to embezzle is lying.
> 1) “Vaccines are safe”
> 2) “Vaccines cause, rather than prevent, illnesses”.
For the sake of getting at the deeper problem with this argument, I'll grant that a version of these assertions could be roughly mutually exclusive.
> If 1 is true, the antivaxx movement is risking tens of millions of lives and >>billions of disability adjusted years of life expectancy.
> If 2 is true, vaccines are a multibillion dollar fraud.
You've framed this as though it's hard to believe that the antivaxx movement would risk people dying and becoming disabled.
Many positions impose a potentially high death toll if you're wrong, e.g. both sides of the debates on war, guns, climate change, health care.
In an alternate history, Neville Chamberlain could have been the man who brokered "peace in our time." He believed he was right and, correctly, believed going to war would be bloody and awful, and took actions based on those beliefs.
But we typically have little direct influence over policy, so what dominates people's views is the immediate impact they observe. In that "multibillion dollar fraud" you have countless doctors and pharmacists administering vaccines to people they know, watching them get sick, and shrugging it off to collect a paycheck.
Unless medical school filters for people who are profoundly unethical, that's not happening.
However, I can’t follow the point you’re making. If it isn’t too much to ask for an internet stranger, could I ask you to rephrase that?
they can be non-complicit with it and still unknowingly participate in the fraud.
ultimately, the doctors have to trust their data as well, which can - theoretically! - be manufactured in order to sell snake oil equivalent.
its a vanishingly small chance with vaccinations, but nonetheless a possibility which cant be outright denied.
the sad thing about this is that we're almost guaranteed to have a situation like that at some point. it will likely be a significantly less widespread topic than vaccines, but there is too much money to be made with this for nobody to make an attempt. to be honest, i expect that there is already at least some medication like that in circulation and we just don't know about it (nor the doctors which prescribe them).
There are clear links between false statements, the antivaxx movement and the resurgence of deadly medical conditions.
Then the question is does political advertising make the disinformation problem better or worse and I'm far less sure of that. It's easy to point to a few crazies but their influence is less certain and traditional media has always had plenty of crazy.
Difficulty: the claim needs to be one that was made in support of something that you personally agree with.
Looks like what they're calling 'false claims' is extremely narrow and based on simple objective facts:
> For example, Google would remove ads that falsely claimed that a candidate had died or that gave the wrong date for an election.
> However, it would not ban claims that you cannot trust a rival party, for instance, which would be viewed as being a matter of opinion.
IMO, I think the better approach to handle truthiness issues is to give the other party/candidate/candidates a chance to post a rebuttal.
I disagree. That's effectively how modern journalism works where the news is "objective" by letting each side say its piece.
The end result is that the media is easy exploitable. The fundamental problem is that manufacturing lies takes less effort than explaining the truth. The latter is hampered by requiring research, evidence, and consistency. The former has no such restrictions.
That means Party A can spend five minutes saying "Party B eats kittens!" Now Party A has to spend a week providing evidence that no, they do not in fact eat kittens. Meanwhile, Party A has already put out five more press releases about how Party B drinks the blood of infants, was responsible for Firefly being canceled, and wants to raise your taxes to buy bombs to drop on wildlife preserves.
The consequence is that whoever has the least respect for the truth has the greatest ability to control the narrative. See:
Even that level of objectivity is rarely met these days. One advantage of this is that it's easy to mandate and enforce.
Honestly, this would probably kill off most false advertising, though. Who would run an advert saying that a candidate had died when on the same advert you could see a response on the same advert from the candidate that he's alive and well?
Even subtle lies would be easily countered by giving right of reply.
>The fundamental problem is that manufacturing lies takes less effort than explaining the truth.
This isn't a new problem and never was. The Spanish didn't destroy the USS Maine. There were no WMDs in Iraq.
Party A: "Party B eats kittens"
Party B: "We're going to lower taxes and fix climate change."
See how it works? Party A pays money into the system, Party B just gets to ignore the silly claim and gets free advertising.
In general, if you have many candidates / parties, there are some ways to handle the situation.
For example, you can limit it to the top parties in polls for that office, or only parties that get a certain percentage or higher in polls. (IE, top 5 candidates, or only candidates who, from polling, have 20% or higher.)
Or, if you have no limits, it just means that you're basically eliminating targeted political advertising. Whenever you advertise to a voter, everyone else gets to advertise, and whenever everyone advertises, so do you.
BTW, if you ever get to see a voter's guide in CA, take a look. I used to rely on them almost exclusively for voting, because they had statements (and rebuttals) from all the candidates.
This sort of thing needs to be black/white which is impossible leaving it full of grey areas where abuse and false positives without due process is a worse trade off than the original intention.
Then it comes to the question is there is such thing as a true narrative to begin with as narratives are subjective in nature, this is a can of worms that Google shouldn't open.
So yeah a full ban sure but not this, if they want some sort of a partial ban they should probably have an interface that allows local electoral commissions to vet advertisement and the most important thing I think Google must do is to disable targeted political ads if they continue to allow them in any shape or form.
Do you think that Google should allow an advertisement that falsely claims that a certain candidate has dropped out of the race, or that the election date has been changed?
Do you think that Google should allow an advertisement that falsely attributes words or actions to a certain candidate? (e.g. imagine an ad that falsely claims "Candidate X has changed her position on issue A.")
If you have different answers for some of these questions, then your view is more complicated than "I don't want Google to be the judge of the validity of claims."
There is a huge difference between an "ad" that is designed to compromise a bank account through phishing and a ad that is designed to sway political opinion even if it's untruthful.
In fact out of those 3 the former isn't even an advertisement necessarily despite the fact that it might be presented to the user through "google ads".
If you have a political message, it makes sense to force you to tailor that message on very broad terms. Hearing something you might disagree with is part of life and very important to critical thinking.
This is not intended to be an opinion on false statements in political advertising.
I'm not sure this is true. I know I don't see ads from all sides. In my experience the targeted ads just reinforce the echo chamber.
If we believe in the "market place of ideas" where validity and accuracy are the sole determiners of success then none should have artificial support. So all ads should be banned. If an idea fails in this market place, then it is reasonable to assume it is a bad idea. Leveraging it is just as bad when done by Soviet approved posters or Exxon paid for ads.
The echo chamber is an example where paid ads will actually _worsen_ the situation: Ads are aimed at target audiences driving them into more extremes by seeing exaggerated or false statement they would not have seen if there were no ads. Also, those echo chambers backed by moneyed interests will thrive and expand while those not money backed will fade. So instead of at least having some hope of uneasy balance between two extremes, you get head long plunge into just one of them.
The "market place of ideas" makes no mention of the speed, likelihood of transmission, or intended audience. The best candidate with the best message still needs to get the message out in a timely fashion (before the election and to the core constituency!). The best product at the best price doesn't matter if the business runs out of money before it can drum up sales... not to mention, real world concerns like collective action problems.
I'd argue the market place of ideas is only the best idea in comparison to the rest.
I believe this is 100% true. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people do not have the skills to handle this. Look at the anger that appears on this site when certain topics are brought up.
So people have a hard time dealing with ideas they disagree with, but I doubt that forced interaction with those ideas will improve the situation.
We can see empirically that the most common reaction is to double down on your own ideas, get defensive, and generally react in a very self-centered and egotistical manner.
That's the current situation. Would banning political ads make this problem worse? I think I can see the logic here - people will only seek out what they agree with.
But it's not like political ads are the only way that they might be forced to see something they disagree with. The only way to do that these days would be to be completely off grid somewhere and never to see anyone else.
It's also the case that political ads probably provide the worse kind of perspective of views you disagree with.
The solution to the problem is to find a way to get people to break out of their ego-based thinking. A lot of magical things can happen when people are honestly committed to finding the truth, instead of protecting what they think the truth is.
I would suggest that this is change, not a norm in the last few decades.
So, unfortunately, the vast majority of people no longer have the skills to handle this.
> ... double down on your own ideas, get defensive, and generally react in a very self-centered and egotistical manner.
> ... find a way to get people to break out of their ego-based thinking
Yes. I think at least in western society (and I start to see this in Asia too) the self-importance crept in, replacing self-reliance.
How did we get here, and how do we "break out"?
Propaganda is not a new thing and the reason it was and is widely used is because it works.
"But it would not work on smart people like me, but only on millenials or ...". Hint: If everybody considers themselves smarter than average...
Before people had time to think about news and talk to people with different views and get push back. That additional friction slowed the spread of misinformation and guaranteed it would mix with the information. When given both, a sufficient portion of the population was able to determine which was which. Then these people could moderate the discussion with targeted persuasive arguments. Sure, a lot of people still believed the misinformation, but they were less confident about it.
Now the information and misinformation travel separate channels. By the time they meet odds are the people involved are already emotionally invested in one or the other.
I am not so sure that we changed so rapidly. It would also make sense that this is not new, and it has just become more apparent in the last few decades, as people have been increasingly communicating with with more other people than ever before.
I think the vast majority of people never had the reason/opportunity to acquire critical thinking skills. It has been discussed by philosophers hundreds (if not thousands) of years ago, so I think it's safe to assume it's not new.
But regardless, I believe the real issue here is that we are not doing much to teach people to think critically.
Everything about modern American culture; a nation of throwaway everything. Throwaway food, throwaway tools, throwaway friends, throwaway jobs.
> and how do we "break out"?
I dunno but maybe listen to and work to solve the things people complain about?
Income inequality, global warming, healthcare including mental health, education, penal system, politics
People who are unaffected by all that haven’t “broken out”.
hearing one or two things you disagree with is part of life, hearing 100 things you disagree with a quarter of which are paid for by super PACs or in rubles isn't, that's a recipe for losing your mind.
'echo chamber' should become the unword of the year or something because apparently the free speech mantra has now turned into a license to shove opinions into other people's faces, a good portion of which aren't even authentic.
No there isn’t. There is truth and then there is people too lazy to do the investigation that uncovers the truth because it takes real work, real people, time and energy and unfortunately is not profitable.
All the "righty" or "conservative" orgs i know about are mostly opinion pieces.
I just noticed that they even publish stuff in opposition to Trump:
Note that I found "right wing investigative journalism publishing sources" to be ambiguous, because you could mean a "publishing source" as in a place that publishes things or specifically that you want a list of references as found in academic papers or on wikipedia. If I guessed wrongly, perhaps you could clarify.
I'd love counter examples, This is not about filter bubbles.
EDIT: on Further consideration, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist might qualify, but they typically don't seem to do expose pieces.
Even Fox News does some actual investigative reporting, notwithstanding that most of their airtime is spent on opinion and propaganda.
I actually read Fox News daily for a few months to try and see this, but I didn't, and eventually stopped after they autoplayed played someone getting fatally hit by a truck on their front page.
Where you find things like this:
It's not sexy contentious lies, it's factual reporting about veterans and 9/11 first responders. So naturally, it doesn't get promoted by algorithms designed to push clickbait to the fore.
It would be more helpful to think of churches/parochial schools as businesses.
If parochial schools are businesses then school vouchers are sending retirees social security checks rather than operating state-run homes for the elderly. It allows people to buy what they want in the market (from businesses) instead of being restricted to a choice between a government facility and nothing -- not even a refund of the tax dollars not needed to pay for it when you don't use it.
People are free to choose as it is. No reason to provide the public’s democratically distributed money.
Reason and Cato are corporate funded think tanks pushing a corporatist agenda. If you look at CATO's front page piece right now, for instance, it's not an investigation it's an opinion piece on how hard it is to complain in the WTO inspired by their backers:
You also get pieces like this, which are full of factual information whether or not you agree with their policy position:
And it's hard to see which "corporatist agenda" pieces like this are pushing:
Which isn't to say that they're unbiased. Everybody has an opinion. But everybody has an opinion; that's why you need more than one news source.
That doesn't mean we should totally ignore what media and think tanks have to say, they can still produce good critiques and investigations -- whether Brookings or Cato. Even explicitly partisan muckrakers like Greenpeace or O'Keefe's Project Veritas occasionally expose a valid case of wrongdoing no one else noticed. These organizations are very selective and hyperbolic in what they focus on, due to their narrow mission and ideology and the natural limit of time/energy, but if you combine all of their varied output you can get enough slices to approximate the pie.
...uh, isn't that exactly the policy announced here?
>Google is extending a ban on political campaigns targeting advertising at people based on their supposed political leanings.
>It said political groups would soon only be able to target ads based on "general categories" such as age, gender and rough location.
Wait, you mean ban all ads completely and make Google lose 100 billion dollars of revenue and make advertisers waste more money on non-targeted ads increasing costs of products and make users pay subscription fees for currently ad funded services like Google Search? Otherwise I don't see how your statement makes any practical sense
Phrased in terms of opportunity cost, it's appropriate, again if a bit high.
Media gets YUGE dollars from politics. That flow of money in politics is one of the biggest problems in the US.
Many want to fix it. That risk, in terms of the financial opportunity assessment under discussion right now, would reasonably ratchet that number down further.
> A staggering $24.1 billion of Google's $27.77 billion revenue for Q3 2018 was from advertising – roughly a 22% increase from $19.8 billion in Q3 2017.
A great example is the lady scientist character from the Chernobyl series. She herself was a fabrication, but represented the factual voices of opinions of hundreds of USSR scientists. Because you can’t write a story with 200 main characters.
You're just opposed to the extra measure of removing ads that are based on their fact-checks of political issues? I favor removing on the basis of both, but I do think these are VERY different categories.
In any case, it is almost impossible for someone to be truly neutral, especially in US politics. Having a company decide that they are the arbiter of this is dangerous. Especially google, which tends to come off as leaning towards one side of the debate.
What do you find objectionable about a low-pass filter that simply removes obvious lies?
So deciding what is and isn't banned becomes an inherently political statement.
You can exclude ads that mention or are paid for by any PAC, candidate for public office, or are advocating for or against any particular public policy decision, or mention the topic of elections or voting.
This would eliminate the majority of them, leaving bad actors that don't care about Google's requirements anyways. Another option would be to simply make certain keywords unpurchaseable.
Recognizing the truth or falsehood of a statement or series of statements can be complicated, but we're doomed as a species if an objective definition of truth stops us in our tracks.
Besides, we have precedent here. Have a look at their policies surrounding what's allowed in health ads, they're pretty extensive, objective, and granular.
They already do that with their own employees. They censor and control what statements they print to control for accuracy. Journalism concerns in part determining what true statements we should print. I think the Economist and CBO do a good job of separating the facts from the fiction. I would trust them to fact-check statements. I would not trust CNN or Facebook or the Democrats to fact-check statements.
At the same time, if we're talking about advertising, in the US we can just rely on what constitutes political advertising under the law.
I would imagine that there would then be an incentive for potential donors to, rather then giving cash, pay for messages that fly under the radar but are designed to support a particular campaign.
But there is nothing inherently wrong about removing pure garbage ads.
Of course, one might object that it would give more visibility to harder-to-discern bad ads, and make the consumer less wary of ads if they are less used to see them with obviously wrong information. Double edged sword as always, and I would certainly ban them. Or every ad, for that matter. But that's google, it is their business model, so what are you expecting?
If China says the majority of Hong Kong support immediate reunification, backed by a statement from the Hong Kong government, is that an "obvious lie"? It comes from what is considered to be an authoritative source of truth.
If Google can overrule a government's statement, by disagreeing with China, does that mean they can overrule the official statement of any government?
That gives them the power, and incentive, to approve some statements that come from the White House, and not others that might damage their own reputation.
Or rather, knowing Google, approval of these goes through a machine, with unknown bias, and suddenly Google is only approving right-wing messages. All Democrat messages get disapproved. Or vice versa.
It places Google in position as the ultimate source of truth, without giving them the responsibility that comes with that.
Being the largest source of information in the world while being completely indifferent as to whether that information is true or not is an amazingly nihilistic, amoral position to take.
I think the most sensible thing for any ad agency to do is to ban _all_ political ads.
It may become difficult for them to differentiate what is and isn't a political ad (an ad for a gay dating app could be construed as a political ad in some nations), but they need to remove themselves from any seat of responsibility.
It's true enough that Google will experience some pressure to kowtow to the governments or powerful interests who have the ability to lean on them, and that is probably a pretty good argument to get out of the business of political advertising altogether. "What is truth anyway, man????" is not much of an argument.
I'll try not to take offense at that.
I'm just someone who has lived under an authoritarian regime where what is "truth" has been actively manipulated by the powers that be - dissenting opinions were made illegal.
> "What is truth anyway, man????" is not much of an argument.
That wasn't the "crux" of the argument.
No advertising company should be in the business of deciding what to report as truth. If they are, complying with local laws about what is "truth" may in fact be completely antithetical to the pretense of fact checking.
The most sensible solution for someone like Google is banning political advertising altogether - not putting themselves in a position where they may be required to act as propaganda mouthpieces.
> It said political groups would soon only be able to target ads based on "general categories" such as age, gender and rough location.
This just means that the moneyed few with deep pockets and illicit agendas will simply have to spend more to get their message out since they won't have the benefit of niche targeting.
You can micro target political speech through non-digital channels such as mail, phones, doors, & addressable cable. Campaigns have been doing this for a LONG time - before the internet.
You can also still target very specific audiences even without 1:1 audience matching a la liveramp. E.g. retargeting, specific website placements, specific youtube video/channel placements, and more.
The one kind of large negative I can foresee with this restriction would be narrowing to likely voters, which is tougher without either an audience match or 3rd party data (though maybe still good enough with 'watches news' or 'visits msnbc.com' and similar). Though one can definitely argue a benefit here that speaking to only an audience of likely voters is a problem (and 'recycles' the same voters not brining new voters in), especially with Democrats who tend to only talk to those voters in VAN.
I think you are underestimating the level of micro targeting that FB and Google employ. If I'm trying to win Florida, theres districts that I know I can get, the gray areas, and the ones I know I will lose. If I go into those gray areas and systematically target small sub groups, to the level of only thousands or tens of thousands in each group, I can flip a whole state.
Theres a reason Google and FB are worth so much, its because all previous advertising is completely inferior to the level of targeting and information they have on their audiences.
'Visits msnbc.com' is no where near what you would need. More along the lines of:
Show married females from ages of 32 - 50 in <important county> my opinions on abortion.
Show single men ages 20 - 30 in <important county> my opinions on gun laws (if I'm pro gun).
Not only is this more accurate than older methods, its much cheaper. I can get instant feedback on which ads are working, iterate and tailor my message.
For reference I buy political digital ads for a living. I'm by no means saying I'm the best or I know everything but my point is this type of individualized campaigning has existed (and still exists) for other 'traditional' political messaging mediums.
Sure digital has better toolsets to optimize/try tons of creative. That's a valid difference. Cable that would be hard to do for instance (CTV is easy...). Phone scripts are optimized and tested fairly in depth if done right but not usually to the level of 100 different scripts.
In part, I've been badly spoiled by another forum I participate in that heavily moderates tone (and tries to separate it from content). I wouldn't have guessed it, but it turns out that low-effort intellectual dishonesty and rank stupidity of the sort that annoy me here correlate pretty well with emotional incontinence, which means that the occasional low-quality commenter that pops up on that forum gets washed out pretty quickly.
You can familiarize yourself with the issue by watching The Great Hack
(2019) on Netflix, or even a panel by Computer History Museum: "CHM Live | The Great Hack" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y26NQdTLtaw
When the scope of what you're tagging is expansive enough, inter-rater agreement isn't as useful as you'd think, primarily because you get correlated biases across your rater population.
These days the pendulum seems to have swung towards the left being fond of censorship and advocating for institutional control of "truth", so to use a left-coded example: good luck finding finding a population of raters in the US that doesn't fail the Implicit Association Test wrt anti-black racism.
The "obvious" answer is to make sure your raters on each ad are balanced wrt biases, but doing so upon every axis that Google ads may refer to is literally impossible. You probably can't even articulate all the relevant axes.
It seems to be hard for people to imagine any ambiguity or flaws in the official truth that contemporary institutions push, so an easy thought exercise is to consider what this sort of an approach would have looked like during the Cold War, or even post-9/11. If you think those are anomalies and that we're in a post-lies, universal-truth era, I don't know what to tell you other than to suggest picking up a history book and realizing that there's never been such a thing.
 I'm aware of the flaws of this test and the associated studies, but what matters here is the perception of its usefulness.
That is a dragon you don't want to tickle.
Deciding what is "true" or not these days is incredibly difficult if not impossible when we have a POTUS who wants to control the narrative and calls what could be considered factually correct as "fake news".
Even reporting the "facts" has become incredibly difficult, especially when digital data is so easily manipulated (for example, how can we verify the integrity of a 'tweet' as it was published at a particular second in history? Is there a hash that should be provided? Screenshots can be easily manipulated, as some articles embed the tweet itself and can be later modified, even Spez on Reddit admitted to editing the database).
I do enjoy reading DARPA funded research on occasion.
Smear starts here:
“ Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of US power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation.”
This is actually a systemic problem and seems more like a passive criticism of the US overall. The interesting tactic here is the Hillary+Obama+LiberalGoogle to get those divisive flames going.
Then it paints DARPA research as bad by trying to connect it directly to intelligence. WHAT defending your country is bad now?! Look at what you’re implicitly agreeing to if you accept this. Say NSA is bad or oversteps bounds or hacks to much or whatever those are separate arguments.
DARPA research is good stuff and supporting defense technology is too.
Oh great, this means they will apply the same rules to regular ads, right?
>Oh great, this means they will apply the same rules to regular ads, right?
So ban all ads altogether :)
> Whether you’re running for office or selling office furniture, we apply the same ads policies to everyone; there are no carve-outs. It’s against our policies for any advertiser to make a false claim—whether it's a claim about the price of a chair or a claim that you can vote by text message, that election day is postponed, or that a candidate has died. To make this more explicit, we’re clarifying our ads policies and adding examples to show how our policies prohibit things like “deep fakes” (doctored and manipulated media), misleading claims about the census process, and ads or destinations making demonstrably false claims that could significantly undermine participation or trust in an electoral or democratic process.
1. Some 95% of employees being registered Democrats
2. 100% of senior leadership being Democrat. Heck, they even wept publicly after the 2016 elections.
3. They've never refuted contents of leaked tapes exposing bias - just keep denying that the said bias is company policy. 
And not just affiliation, but registration? What about employees in non-US countries? They are registered with a US political party?
If you're going to just make stuff up, why not say 100% at that point?
As for political affiliation, in your estimate, what is Google-USA's make up? Also, if non-US employees are making political censorship decisions on behalf of Google, isn;t the foreign interference? All that intersectional talk from Googlers that has made it into unbiased AI truths(??) in their search autocomplete, like "men can have [periods, babies, ...]" really points to overwhelming Republican bent at Google. Right?
Me guessing a different number doesn't change the fact that it would be a guess. It's not evidence of bias, and trying to prove that your guess is true is at best circular logic (they are biased so there must be more Democrats, which in turn... Proves that they are biased??). I reject this idea on the simple truth of making logical arguments based on facts. Guesses are not evidence.
As for the rest of your post, you seem to be confusing search autocomplete with double click ads, which shows a gross misunderstanding of what is even being discussed.
As for this nugget, if shows a gross misunderstanding of what we're debating: whether Google is biased towards one party.
But processing your full response - nitpicking on the exact % of Democrats is a masterful tangent from the crux - that Google is likely not going to censor fairly. And the only reason I can think of for this bike shedding  is likely because you know it's true.
If we want to have a discussion, we need to start by being intellectually honest. Part of that is not making claims of facts that don't exist.
On a very real level, are you saying nonsense. Do you think that a human is reading what you type into Google and saying "haha, time to auto complete this with my liberal bias!!". How exactly do you think this technology works? And why do you think it had anything to do with this announcement about political ads? There is so much illiteracy to unpack in a short space.
1. Google is majority Democratic, at least by a spread of 40% (D:R) if you simply assume the employee pool to mirror Democrat:Republican ratios of the counties Google HQ and branches are located in the bay area. . Further, this is only the lower bound, as Google's employee pool tends to be college educated with postgraduate degrees (M.S, PhD, ...), which leans 63% democratic . Further, Google is legendary for it's recruitment of the activist left, and minorities, with an even greater proclivity towards the Democratic party. So yes - you are bike-shedding when you make a mountain of the 95% claim, because the spread between Democrats and Republicans is large, nay mammoth enough for it to be irrelevant. And I bet you knew all of this, but wanted to engage in trivialities anyways.
2. Google search suggestions show falsehoods on certain terms like "men can " precisely because of manually inserted political bias into training models that the AI is based on. Google has a whole ethics committee whose entire job is precisely this - play "judge" on what AI models are "ethical and fair", manually intervene with oodles of their own corrections & interpretations - never mind the facts behind the issue. Here is the AI ethics committee explaining manual interventions , and here  is the explanation on why Google search suggestions show what they do, with the AI engineer confirming it 6],despite having ZERO correlation on Google search trends for those terms (tsk tsk manually inserted political bias) . Also note that the contents of this video were the subject of a congressional hearing , in which Google confirmed it's veracity, but still maintained political neutrality blaming any appearance of bias on individual employees.
3. "why do you think it had anything to do with this announcement about political ads". It has everything to do with political ads, because Google has been repeatedly caught red-handed in acts of bias against conservatives on YouTube, search results, political ad-spend, ..... (my GGM comment cites some instances). They've confirmed that their news app has an editorial agenda (hint: left leaning), and senior employees have been caught on record stating they'll do whatever it takes to skew the system against a Trump re-election. So yes - in aggregate, Google has a massive leftist basis, and every iota of their business decision making imbibes these biases. My prediction is that they will not censor leftist political ads, but will put any right leaning ads through hell before letting them see light of day.
PS: The hubris in this statement!! -
> "haha, time to auto complete this with my liberal bias!!". How exactly do you think this technology works? And why do you think it had anything to do with this announcement about political ads? There is so much illiteracy to unpack in a short space.
Speaking of bias, all of your sources are skewed to the extremes of the political spectrum and I've got to imagine that they are giving a very one sided view of the problem your talking about.
Oh the double speak here! Do you remember the ouster of Brandon Eich from Mozilla? Or the cancel culture plaguing Chick Filet right now? Why not apply that logic to companies led by conservatives?
Can you imagine the triggering on the matter if Google's employees were 95% Republican?
And all my sources are unedited Congressional testimonies. Feel free to source all 4 hours of them off C-SPAN/PBS. Also note that all claims hold: that Google reportedly gets caught with seemingly biased actions, and never denies the actions in testimonies, just maintains it isn't company policy.
Slightly off-topic, but Facebook offers a similar thing: https://www.facebook.com/ads/library/
I like these additions to ad serving entities, this is an important development. I'm really surprised I was not informed about these ad transparency portals, and that nobody seems to be paying attention to these. I would have wagered there would be various activists using this tool already. None of my news channels have this on their radar.
Does anybody know of other ad transparency portals, or of any projects working with these portals? Whats the likelyhood that these portals vanish into nothing, or behind a paywall or whatever? Are there APIs?
TV is often used as an example, but you can target cable to the individual/house, just like online ads.
A huge percent of political speech is individually targeted (phone calls, door knocks, mail, digital, addressable tv). Campaigns and bad actors have been doing deceptive or flat out lying campaigns forever (before the internet). Google 'McCain Bush child robocall' or 'push poll' as simple examples.
Edit: For reference I work in digital politics, my agency buys & creates digital advertising.
At least watch Computer History Museum" CHM Live | The Great Hack" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y26NQdTLtaw
In a few years it will refine the rules again.
This works pretty well for above the line advertising restrictions in some contries where brands cannot mention competitors in their ads.
It encourages advertisers to focus on promoting their own merits instead of misinformation about competitors.
Most politicians end up with nicknames over scandals. For example:
Ad depicting a pig in mud.
"Do we want this in government?"
Mentions no one directly. But if it were run at the time David Cameron was running in the UK, it would be blatantly obvious who it was referring to, to the people on the ground.
Not so much to the people/machines making approvals of these ads from other nations.
The situation is even worse in countries like the UK which had somewhat-regulated advertising, suddenly being exposed to the Wild West. Reports were going around this morning of the Conservative party buying a misleading ad pointing at their own "labourmanifesto.co.uk". Basically as legitimate as a banking phish site.
Are we talking about Clinton, Reagan or Nixon? Since all of those had pretty dirty dealing in the administrations. Are you certain that people that voted for Trump expected a saint and didn't know what kind of guy he was?
If voters got what they wanted then there has been nothing gone wrong.
Your comment could've been more productive.
And quite honestly, Google is completely scamming anyone who pays for my views. They know damn well I don’t see ads, let alone click on them (except through automated means a la ad nauseam).
That's the most comical thing I've read today. The government controlling search and maps is the last thing anyone should ever want. Not to mention they'll innovate as quickly as they innovate the DMV; no incentive therefore no innovation. Public utilities such as water, gas, and electricity are natural monopolies and priced on a per usage basis, so you'll be paying per search query and map lookup making it a more expensive and worse experience.
Why is this any worse than Google? There are obvious perverse incentives against providing a decent search tool on every page by design.
- Easier surveillance of citizens
- Easier to censor anti-government speech
- Easier to alter search results for more government propaganda
- Easier to make correlations between search history and crimes for when it's convenient to prosecutors
- Lower quality of service because the government does not have consumer's best-interest in mind
I don't know about you but I prefer to not live in George Orwell's 1984 dystopian world