An alleged program manager at Google Cloud has said the search engine monolith is “playing god” in the US political scene, skewing results to benefit Democrats, according to an undercover interview captured by Project Veritas.
In footage published on Monday, the conservative media watchdog shared around eight minutes of an interview with a man identified as Ritesh Lakhkar, said to be a technical program manager at Google’s Cloud service, who accused the company of putting its thumb on the digital scales for the Democrats.
“The wind is blowing toward Democrats, because GOP equals Trump and Trump equals GOP. Everybody hates it, even though GOP may have good traits, no one wants to acknowledge them right now,” Lakhkar said when asked whether Google favors either political party.
While Lakhar – whose LinkedIn page states he’s worked at Google since May 2018 – did not specify exactly how the company gives an edge to certain political viewpoints, he suggested the platform is selling favorable coverage to the highest bidder.
“It’s skewed by the owners or the drivers of the algorithm. Like, if I say ‘Hey Google, here’s another two billion dollars, feed this data set of whenever Joe Biden
is searched, you’ll get these results,’” he went on, blasting Big Tech firms for “playing god and taking away freedom of speech on both sides.”
Lakhkar complained of a suffocating, overly-political atmosphere at Google, where he said “your opinion matters more than your work,” recalling a dramatic reaction to Donald Trump
’s 2016 election win at the company.
“When Trump won the first time, people were crying in the corridors of Google. There were protests, there were marches. There were like, I guess, group therapy sessions for employees organized by HR,” he said.
Google, which has yet to respond to Lakhkar’s charges, has come under fire previously with allegations of political bias in its search results, with internal documents obtained by Project Veritas last year suggesting the company maintains content “blacklists” targeting certain media outlets, most of them right-of-center. Google also declined to address the prior claim, but company head Sundar Pichai has insisted the search engine does not favor one viewpoint over another, and that Google’s algorithms are “impossible” to manipulate.