Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Did Google Buy Off Two Think Tanks?

Here is more from Wired:

In February, The New York Times Magazine published a cover story urging regulators to break up Google because the company abuses its dominance in search to crush promising competitors. The next day, representatives from two conservative think tanks published blog posts defending Google and attacking the article’s call for antitrust enforcement. Both think tanks have received funding from Google. Both blog posts referenced studies by a professor who has received funding from Google. In one post, the study referenced was published in a quarterly journal owned by third think tank, which has also received funding from Google.
In a company-wide meeting a couple of weeks later, on March 1, Google’s public policy team described the blog posts as the fruit of Google’s efforts to build deeper relationships with conservatives, according to an audio recording of the meeting reviewed by WIRED.
“Just to give you an example, last weekend The New York Times Magazine cover story was all about breaking up Google,” [Adam] Kovacevich [Google's US Director of Public Policy] said. “Among the people who wrote op-eds and blog posts rebutting that Times piece were two conservative think-tank officials who we work with closely—one from the American Enterprise Institute and one from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who both attended [Goog'e invite-only reception at CPAC].”

It should also be noted that more liberal-leaning think tanks, such as the Brookings Institution (which has been running into numerous issues of scholarly independence lately), receive hundreds of thousands of dollars from Google.

Last year, a scholar was fired from think tank New America (which takes Google money) for being critical of Google.