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6 Jul, 2019 17:29

‘Why did they hide it?’ Pundits say Google ‘blacklisted’ pro-life entries before Irish abortion vote

Google has been accused of blacklisting pro-life YouTube search entries ahead of last year’s vote in Ireland on legalizing abortion. Pundits call it “a deliberate manipulation” and demand that the company be held accountable.

Allegations that Google’s manual interference with YouTube search results may have played a role in the 2018 referendum on abortion in Ireland surfaced last week, when Project Veritas website published an insider-based article on the matter. Blocked terms reportedly included “abortion is murder,” “Irish Catholic,” “pro-life” and other terms. 

“Google’s interference in the referendum in Ireland, I think, should send a warning shot to everyone who’s interested in democracy,” Niamh Ui Bhriain, anti-abortion activist and Rally for Life organizer, commented on RT. She suggested that Google had “deliberately and intentionally manipulated the kind of things people would find when they’re putting in the search terms.”

The US corporation hit back, saying that there was no distinction between pro-life or pro-choice queries on YouTube at the time and that their whole procedure was transparent.

Also on rt.com Leaked doc shows YouTube blacklisted abortion-themed search phrases during 2018 Irish vote

The activist, however, wasn’t that convinced. “And here’s a very obvious question, I think, for Google,” she said, asking, “If this was all above board, and this was not nefarious, then why do they hide it?”

In the referendum vote in May, the pro-life camp garnered 33.6 percent and abortion then became legal in Ireland. The issue soon disappeared from the mainstream but Google’s alleged censorship practices didn’t go away.

“They really need to be held accountable,” believes Jennifer Breedon, human rights attorney. She found it “horrific” that “a company from Southern California” decides issues for the people of Ireland, including on contentious topics like abortion.