GOOGLE has been accused of having a pro-EU bias after claims emerged that the search engine suggests more Remain-backing websites on its front page.
Analysis of searches for 5,000 Brexit-related keywords on the site suggested that the three outlets given most prominence were the Guardian, the Independent, and the BBC, which Brexiteers have long charged with being anti-Brexit.
According to search engine platform Searchmetrics, the three sites between them received half the market share on searches carried out in October.
The BBC, the UK’s biggest broadcaster, made up 29 per cent of stories that appeared on Brexit-related search terms, the Press Gazette reported.
The Guardian had a 12 per cent share, the highest among the national newspaper sites, followed by the Independent with nine.
The Telegraph and Wikipedia came next with four per cent each.
There are over a million Google searches a month in the UK for terms to do with Brexit.
Among the phrases looked at in the study were “Brexit border issue”, “Brexit pounds news”, and “can Brexit be cancelled?”.
The Sun was found to show up most prominently for searches related to a no-deal Brexit.
Stephen Bench-Capon, senior content marketing manager at Searchmetrics, said: Expertise, authority and trust are big factors in ranking high up on Google search.
The BBCs dominance suggests that, despite criticism and accusations of bias from all sides, Google views the BBC as the number one authority for relevant online information about Britains exit from the European Union.
He added: Appearing on the first page of Google is a huge opportunity for news websites to attract visitors who are hungry for information on Brexit developments.
GOVERNMENT DOMINATES GOOGLE ADS
The analysis also found that 84 per cent of searches on Brexit-related topics featured Google Adwords search ads alongside the organic results.
Of those, the majority were from the government’s gov.uk website, with many of them linking to its Get Ready for Brexit campaign.
The survey isn’t the first time Google has been accused of interfering in politics.
In August, President Trump, who lost the popular vote but won the most states in the 2016 election, tweeted: “Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 Election!
“This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump Supporter!
“Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought!”
Trump was referring to a report published by American psychologist Robert Epstein claiming Google had provided more positive results about Hillary Clinton then Trump prior to the election, and that that could have swayed undecided voters.
However, the claims of the report were later found to be unsubstantiated.
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