Top Republican blasts Google over ‘Nazism’ association
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday went after Google for displaying “Nazism” as one of the ideologies of the California Republican Party.
A search on the site for “California Republican Party” apparently returned with a sidebar result listing Nazism as an ideology alongside “conservativism” and “market liberalism.”
McCarthy noted the sidebar in a tweet at the company.
“Dear @Google, This is a disgrace #StopTheBias,” McCarthy tweeted, accompanied by a screenshot showing Nazism listed among the California Republican party’s ideologies alongside values like “conservatism” and “market liberalism.”
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) May 31, 2018
Ideologies associated with the California GOP are no longer visible in the sidebar on Google’s results page when users search “California Republican Party” or in similar searches.
The sidebar, which Google calls the “knowledge panel,” is often populated by content from Wikipedia; however, no mention of Nazism is visible of the California GOP’s page there. The party’s Wikipedia page’s edit history, though, shows that “Nazism” was briefly added to the page on Thursday.
Google blamed the result as online “vandalism” from outside the company that slipped through its safeguards.
“This was not the result of any manual change by anyone at Google. We don’t bias our search results toward any political party. Sometimes people vandalize public information sources, like Wikipedia, which can impact the information that appears in search,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.
“We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that’s what happened here. This would have been fixed systematically once we processed the removal from Wikipedia, but when we noticed the vandalism we worked quickly to accelerate this process to remove the erroneous information,” they added.
The mistake comes in advance of California’s statewide primary elections, which are set for next week.
Other conservatives expressed outrage over Nazism appearing, including President Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr.
“More bias against conservatives,” he wrote in a tweet about the error. “So much for free thought or speech!”
More bias against conservatives. This one from @google is even more disgusting than @instagram putting up a note that those searching a # of my name “could cause harm and even lead to death”. So much for free thought or speech!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) May 31, 2018
McCarthy hammering Google comes one day after he blasted technology companies for having a supposed bias against conservatives.
“Social media is being rigged to censor conservative voices. We will not be silenced,” the No. 2 House Republican wrote in a tweet with an attached video elaborating on his criticisms of Silicon Valley firms.
Other high-profile Republicans have been beating the drum against major technology firms recently as well.
In April, House Republicans held a contentious hearing, featuring conservative internet personalities Diamond and Silk, lambasting technology firms over alleged bias.
Last week, the Republican National Committee sent a letter to Facebook and Twitter asking that they provide more information on steps they’re taking to prevent bias on their platforms.
–Updated at 4:12 p.m.