Why Presidential-Candidate Spin Is Showing Up On Page One Of Google Search Results

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As the presidential campaign kicks into high gear with the upcoming Republican primary in South Carolina, more voters are turning to Google to learn about the remaining candidates in both parties. When you search for a candidate using Google, the results page includes the latest news reports about a candidate, his or her personal story, policy positions, links to their websites, and a little bit of campaign spin. Unbeknownst to most people, you'll also find, at mid-page, a new Google creation in which tweets, quotes, story links, and promo videos from the campaigns themselves are displayed in a "card" format—meaning the candidates themselves are controlling some of what you find in your search results. The "candidate cards," as they're known, have a small icon above them with the candidate's name and thumbnail photo ("Donald Trump on Google"), but otherwise, there's no indication that the content is being provided by the candidates.

Google describes the cards as "a new way to hear directly from candidates themselves, in real-time—right in Google Search results." The new feature, Google says, "helps voters make more informed choices, and levels the playing field for candidates to share ideas and positions..." The cards also show up when you search for a campaign event such as a primary or a debate. Google uses a ranking algorithm to determine when and where users might want to hear directly from a candidate, the company says. While the cards may have been intended to provide crib notes on the candidates for voters, in reality candidates are using them more like small carousel ad units for their campaign spin machines.


Why Presidential-Candidate Spin Is Showing Up On Page One Of Google Search Results