AI biased in favor of establishment talking points
Perspective API, a “machine learning model” developed by Google which scores “the perceived impact a comment might have on a conversation” in the comment section of a news article, ranks comments based on their “toxicity.”
But when testing out its algorithm, Perspective generally scores conservative and libertarian comments as more “toxic” than establishment talking points.
As we reported throughout the election, Google preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, a preference that apparently hasn’t changed:
And the abortion debate between conservatives and liberals:
Perspective has been used by establishment news outlets including the Guardian, the New York Times and the Economist.
“News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content, but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labour and time,” said Jared Cohen, president of Jigsaw, the Google affiliate behind Perspective. “As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether, but they tell us that isn’t the solution they want.”
Of course that’s not what they want; the public is increasingly more interested in reading the comment section than the article itself, and if they shut down the comments, readers will flee to another news site covering the same story but with a comment section.
So what better way to control the narrative than by promoting pro-establishment comments while burying conservative and libertarian counterpoints?
Twitter was already doing just that by pinning criticism of President Trump as the top responses to his tweets.
And even before using Perspective, the New York Times would promote “Editor’s Pick” comments which, not surprisingly, agreed with the Times’ narrative.
But for controversial articles, the Times tends to just shut down comments altogether, which of course makes the article look less credible – and this likely explains the establishment media’s interest in Perspective API.
Additionally, Google has hired contractors to bury or outright ban Infowars.com from its search engines, according to investigative journalist Mike Cernovich who was given leaked documents.
“There are a number of controversial, often debunked claims that the site regularly promotes,” the document claims.