Tech giant Google not only invests heavily in the suppression of free speech, it reportedly spends billions on preventing users from using other search engines.
As Google faces an ongoing antitrust lawsuit, The Washington Post reported on Nov. 8 that the tech giant spent a whopping $26.3 billion just in 2021 to induce phone/device companies, including Samsung and Apple, to bury a feature allowing users to change their default search engine.
The Post explained why Google sees its huge spending on this trickery as worth it, citing an internal Google document that reportedly “found when people changed their browser homepage away from Google, their searches with Google shrunk by 27 percent.” Apparently, Google is paying for the forcible retention of users.
The article alleged, “Google pays the makers of phones, laptops and browsers to be your default and to stop them from even presenting you other options during setup. It’s billions for a favor.” The Post cited testimony from Apple and Samsung executives in the Google antitrust lawsuit to highlight the tech companies’ hypocrisy and disregard for user privacy.
Most people just opt for defaults, explained The Post. “The idea is that defaults can nudge people’s choices one way or another, because most people are too distracted or confused to change them.” Google tried to claim users can change their default with a few clicks, but actually, most people have no idea where to start or what to do. Google’s business model involves tracking people and getting their data, and Apple and Samsung are helping Google achieve that goal.
Google’s search engine bias already suppresses some speech and manipulates what people see, as newly published MRC Free Speech America research on presidential campaign website results demonstrates. But Google also appears to be undermining users’ privacy. The Post asserted, “Google’s excess data collection is both creepy and a potential risk to your civil rights.” The tech giant’s search results have seemingly worsened, partly because of anti-free speech goals but, according to The Post, also due to lack of competition.
Google already violates First Amendment rights, so why shouldn’t it violate other rights?
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