A new Project Veritas video that includes testimony from a whistleblower, leaked internal documents, and undercover footage of a Google employee discussing how the company is working to prevent “the next Trump situation” has been pulled by YouTube, a platform owned by Google, “due to a privacy claim by a third party.” This is the second Project Veritas Big Tech exposé video taken down by the platform in two weeks.
On Monday, Project Veritas released its latest Big Tech report, this time focusing on ways an insider says Google manipulates what information its users access in order to promote an ideological and political agenda. In the video, the whistleblower — whose identity is protected — walks Project Veritas’ James O’Keefe through internal Google documents that he says show that the search engine is a “highly biased political machine” that manipulates searches for the purpose of promoting its “fair and equitable” priorities, filtering out or deemphasizing even factual information if its creators deem that information “unfair.” To accomplish this, the company works to prevent “algorithmic unfairness.”
The video features clips of Project Veritas undercover reporters’ secretly recorded discussion with Jen Gennai — head of Google’s “Responsible Innovation” team, which monitors the responsible implementation of A.I. technologies — in a restaurant in San Francisco. In the video, she discusses the rationale behind the company’s A.I. principles. “The reason we launched our A.I. principles is because people were not putting that line in the sand, that they were not saying what’s fair and what’s equitable so we’re like, well we are a big company, we’re going to say it,” she says, adding: “The people who voted for the current president do not agree with our definition of fairness.”
Another clip shows her discussing Google’s attempt to “prevent” another 2016. “Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google,” she says. “And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.”
“We all got screwed over in 2016, again it wasn’t just us, it was — the people got screwed over, the news media got screwed over, like, everybody got screwed over — so we’re rapidly been like, what happened there and how do we prevent it from happening again,” she says in another clip. “We’re also training our algorithms, like, if 2016 happened again, would we have, would the outcome be different?”
By the end of the day, YouTube pulled the video “due to a privacy claim by a third party.”
Two weeks ago, YouTube pulled another Big Tech exposé video published by Project Veritas, likewise citing a privacy complaint. That video focused on alleged anti-conservative bias within Pinterest. “The established media and technology are so afraid of investigative journalism they need to censor it,” O’Keefe tweeted in response. “YouTube calls REPORTING on someone by showing their face and name, and how they added a pro-life group to a porn blacklist, a ‘privacy complaint.’ Would they do this to NYT?”
On Monday, Gennai responded to the Google video in a blog post on Medium, accusing Project Veritas of “selectively editing” and “distorting” her comments. She writes that she returned from a trip to find several threatening messages in response to her statements in the video. She explains that she accepted an invitation to dinner by people saying they were from a pro-tech diversity group, “2 Step Tech Solutions.” “Unfortunately, I now know that these people lied about their true identities, filmed me without my consent, selectively edited and spliced the video to distort my words and the actions of my employer, and published it widely online.”
Project Veritas has edited the video to make it seem that I am a powerful executive who was confirming that Google is working to alter the 2020 election. On both counts, this is absolute, unadulterated nonsense, of course. In a casual restaurant setting, I was explaining how Google’s Trust and Safety team (a team I used to work on) is working to help prevent the types of online foreign interference that happened in 2016. Google has been very public about the work that our teams have done since 2016 on this, so it’s hardly a revelation.
The video then goes on to stitch together a series of debunked conspiracy theories about our search results, and our other products. Google has repeatedly been clear that it works to be a trustworthy source of information, without regard to political viewpoint. In fact, Google has no notion of political ideology in its rankings. And everything I have seen backs this up. Our CEO has said ”We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda.” He’s somewhat more powerful and authoritative than me.