Mail audit reveals web searches for ‘Boris Johnson’ give more results for news sites hostile to him 


Is Google biased to the Left? Culture Secretary vows to act after Mail audit reveals web searches for ‘Boris Johnson’ give far more results for news sites hostile to him

  • Analysis showed Google promoted news stories from Left publishers over right
  • Guardian came up 38 times in search results and Independent was cited 14 times
  • Telegraph came up four times, Daily Express three times and MailOnline twice 

Google stood accused of bias last night after analysis showed it promoted news stories from Left-leaning publishers over those from the Right.

The Daily Mail looked at which outlets’ articles were returned in last week’s top 11 most searched terms about Boris Johnson.

The study found that The Guardian came up 38 times in the search results and The Independent was cited 14 times. Yet the Daily Telegraph came up just four times, the Daily Express three times and MailOnline twice.

BBC News, which has been accused by some Conservatives of anti-Johnson bias, came up 24 times, along with nine further results for other BBC outlets.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the analysis proved what many had feared. And she promised action in a forthcoming bill to address ‘unfair bias and distortion’.

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the analysis proved what many had feared. And she promised action in a forthcoming bill to address ¿unfair bias and distortion

Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said the analysis proved what many had feared. And she promised action in a forthcoming bill to address ‘unfair bias and distortion

Google stood accused of bias last night after analysis showed it promoted news stories from Left-leaning publishers over those from the Right (file image)

Google stood accused of bias last night after analysis showed it promoted news stories from Left-leaning publishers over those from the Right (file image)

The Daily Mail looked at which outlets¿ articles were returned in last week¿s top 11 most searched terms about Boris Johnson

The Daily Mail looked at which outlets’ articles were returned in last week’s top 11 most searched terms about Boris Johnson

‘I have raised the issue of bias and algorithms distorting democratic content and opinion with Google,’ she added. ‘They have promised to revert to me with evidence that this is not the case which I have yet to receive.

‘This evidence published by the Mail is fairly conclusive and tells us what many have suspected all along.

‘We are looking at how we can address unfair bias and distortion in the forthcoming digital competition bill.’

Google decides where to rank news outlets’ stories on its search website based not on clicks, but based on an algorithm devised by the tech firm.

This means it is not the most read story which tops the list, but those stories that Google determines carry more relevance and authority.

The study looked at the top online search terms relating to the Prime Minister, including ‘Boris Johnson’, ‘Boris Johnson no confidence’, ‘Boris Johnson confidence vote’ and ‘Lee Mack Boris Johnson’.

The study looked at the top online search terms relating to the Prime Minister, including ¿Boris Johnson¿, ¿Boris Johnson no confidence¿, ¿Boris Johnson confidence vote¿ and ¿Lee Mack Boris Johnson¿

The study looked at the top online search terms relating to the Prime Minister, including ‘Boris Johnson’, ‘Boris Johnson no confidence’, ‘Boris Johnson confidence vote’ and ‘Lee Mack Boris Johnson’

The last was a reference to comedian Lee Mack’s joke about Partygate during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert on Saturday.

The most searched phrases for the week up to June 8 came from Google Trends, the firm’s analytic service.

Each of these terms was then typed into Google Search in the UK. The researcher added up the total number of results returned for each source, giving 38 for The Guardian. Second came BBC News on 24, then The Independent on 14 and Sky News on 13.

ITV News scored six, while there were five results each for Wikipedia, the Financial Times, the Associated Press news agency and the US-based Public Broadcasting Service.

The last was a reference to comedian Lee Mack¿s joke about Partygate during the Queen¿s Platinum Jubilee concert on Saturday

The last was a reference to comedian Lee Mack’s joke about Partygate during the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee concert on Saturday

The last group received more than twice as many Google search results in the UK as MailOnline, despite the latter’s widespread popularity.

Four results were returned by the Daily Telegraph, CNN and a minor outlet called BBC Learning English.

The Daily Express, the Washington Post and Parliament.uk all returned three results. MailOnline and Metro were down at two each – putting them on a par with Facebook, the Government’s gov.uk website and Britannica. The Times and the Daily Mirror received one search result each, while London’s Evening Standard and The Sun had no results returned at all.

The analysis covered a period when all media outlets were carrying many stories every day on the Prime Minister when he was facing a no-confidence vote by Conservative MPs.

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