Big Data: The Truth, Nothing But the Truth

With Big Data and the internet, we all feel like we can know and analyze everything. Certainly Google must feel that way, as they collect not only data, but also what we – the users – find interesting in that vast pile of information.

As we should always keep in mind: Google is not charity and does not offer its services for free, and we should expect to see their commercial interests interfere with what we would usually refer to as “neutrality” or “truth”

Just after the soccer world cup semi final, I stumbled over this article on npr, where it says:

But Google itself is choosing to steer clear of negative terms. The company has created an experimental newsroom in San Francisco to monitor the World Cup, and turn popular search results into viral content. And they’ve got a clear editorial bias.

Their motivation is only superficially of a kindhearted nature as:

“We’re also quite keen not to rub salt into the wounds,” producer Sam Clohesy says, “and a negative story about Brazil won’t necessarily get a lot of traction in social.”

So we need to go to the English press directly, to get these fantastic headlines talking about “German tanks rolling into Belgium” (I guess this was the Euro 1980 with two goals of Horst Hrubesch – who was probably mistaken with a tank …) or the 2010 headline of The Sun “Men v boys.. and the boys won”.

The bottom line is clear: If you want an unbiased excerpt of “the news”, you can’t really rely on Google as they whitewash news in order to make them as much “shareable” and “clickable” as possible in order to fuel revenues.

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