Google does manipulate its search results manually, contrary to the company’s official denials, documents obtained exclusively by The Daily Caller indicate.
Two official policies dubbed the “misrepresentation policy” and the “good neighbor policy” inform the company’s “XPA news blacklist,” which is maintained by Google’s Trust & Safety team. “T&S will be in charge of updating the blacklist as when there is a demand,” reads one of the documents shared with The Daily Caller.
“The deceptive_news domain blacklist is going to be used by many search features to filter problematic sites that violate the good neighbor and misrepresentation policies,” the policy document says.
Following leaks and employee revolts, the absences raise questions about the future of transparency at Google.
SAN FRANCISCO — Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin have yet to make an appearance at any of the company’s weekly “TGIF” town halls in 2019, BuzzFeed News has learned. Their absence from these meetings, the longest attendance lapse in company history, comes at a time when Google is wrestling with tough questions from its employees on a variety of issues, ranging from harassment to censorship.
The town halls give Google employees a chance to ask questions of leadership with no limitations, and are a key element of Google’s transparent workplace culture. They regularly feature an introduction from leadership, a presentation from a team, followed by time for employee questions. For years, Page and Brin have attended, either individually or together, and faced questions from Google’s rank and file about the company and its direction. Asked when their last TGIF appearance was, Google declined to comment.
“I don’t think they’ve ever missed more than a few consecutively, and definitely not both,” one Google employee said. “It’s a double act! One of them was consistently always there at minimum.”
Their withdrawal isn’t entirely unexpected, according to a company source. The cofounders planned to step back their Google involvement when they formed Alphabet in 2015 — a holding company that contains Google proper along with “other bets” in areas such as Waymo’s self-driving cars, and companies focused on life science and anti-aging. The idea was to give Google CEO Sundar Pichai the ability to assert his own leadership during a tumultuous time. The cofounders remain actively involved with the other bets.
“It is clear to us and our board that it is time for Sundar to be CEO of Google,” Page wrote in a post announcing Alphabet’s formation in August 2015. “I feel very fortunate to have someone as talented as he is to run the slightly slimmed down Google and this frees up time for me to continue to scale our aspirations.”