Google Admits It Has Run ‘Experiments’ To Hide News Sites From Consumers

(Photo by FRANK CILIUS/Ritzau Scanpix/AFP via Getty Images)

Dylan Housman Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent
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Google has been running “experiments” that hide certain news sites from its search results in Australia as it negotiates with the Australian government over a new regulatory proposal. 

The Australian government is considering a new regulation that would require Facebook and Google to pay a fee for the right to display local news content, according to The Guardian. Google has reportedly criticized the proposal in messages to users while Facebook has threatened to stop users from sharing local content if it passes. 

Now, Google has altered its search algorithm to hide some results from Australian users, as first reported by the Australian Financial Review. The company is “running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users in Australia,” a spokesperson told The Guardian. (RELATED: Google Employees Announce They’ve Formed First Company-Wide Union)

Google reportedly said the experiments would be finished by February, and that they run “tens of thousands” of experiments within their search function every year. The move was still criticized, though. “Google is an effective monopoly and by withholding access to such timely, accurate and important information they show clearly how they impact what access Australians have to that,” a spokesman for one Australian publisher said. 

Google is among several Big Tech companies who have come under fire in the United States recently as well for acts like banning Parler from its Play Store and allegedly engaging in anti-competitive behavior