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The recent furor over a Google-funded think tank firing an anti-Google scholar has inspired Gizmodo journalist Kashmir Hill to tell a story about the time Google used its power to squash a story that was embarrassing to the company.
The incident occurred in 2011. Hill was a cub reporter at Forbes, where she covered technology and privacy. At the time, Google was actively promoting Google Plus and was sending representatives to media organizations to encourage them to add "+1" buttons to their sites.
Hill was pulled into one of these meetings, where the Google representative suggested that Forbes would be penalized in Google search results if it didn't add +1 buttons to the site. Hill thought that seemed like a big story, so she contacted Google's PR shop for confirmation. Google essentially confirmed the story, and so Hill ran with it under the headline: "Stick Google Plus Buttons On Your Pages, Or Your Search Traffic Suffers."
Google never challenged the accuracy of the reporting. Instead, a Google spokesperson told me that I needed to unpublish the story because the meeting had been confidential, and the information discussed there had been subject to a non-disclosure agreement between Google and Forbes. (I had signed no such agreement, hadn’t been told the meeting was confidential, and had identified myself as a journalist.)
It escalated quickly from there. I was told by my higher-ups at Forbes that Google representatives called them saying that the article was problematic and had to come down. The implication was that it might have consequences for Forbes, a troubling possibility given how much traffic came through Google searches and Google News.
originally posted by: dreamingawake
Tucker Carlson called for Google to be regulated like a public utility. Issues presented such as the OP is probably going to have more rallying around that.
originally posted by: carewemust
a reply to: MALBOSIA
"Regulation" is your friend?
No kidding. Maybe it is because GOOGLE is a business that can choose which business it promotes and which ones it doesn't. If you didn't like that you would go design yourself a more powerful search engine and do whatever your want.
GOOGLE is my friend and I only want to be friends with their friends. Is that a problem?