Companies, like people, make mistakes. And Google came fire on Thursday for making a big one.
As first reported by Vice, the powerful search engine company listed “Nazism” as the ideology of the California Republican Party—less than a week before the GOP’s primary.
Needless to say, Republicans were not pleased.
“It is disgraceful that the world’s largest search engine has labeled millions of California Republicans as Nazis,” said Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California, the House Majority Leader. “This is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account. The bias has to stop.”
It's unclear what went wrong or how long Nazism had been listed as the ideology of the California Republican Party before the mistake was uncovered. A Google spokesman told Vice the search result did not occur from a manual change by a Google employee, speculating instead that it could be the result of vandals.
Google removed the “Nazism” tag from the Republican search result, but the action likely did little to assuage concern among those who see Google and other Silicon Valley tech giants as hostile to conservatives.
Last year, Google made headlines by firing James Damore, an engineer who wrote a 10-page memo accusing the company of being an “Ideological Echo Chamber.”
Conservatives wasted no time jumping on Google’s latest mistake.
“Google owes conservatives answers and assurances that they are putting an end to this,” McDaniel told Vice in a statement. “Evidence is mounting that conservative voices are either being suppressed or, as it appears in this case, being falsely depicted as hateful extremists.”
There was already chatter that Google, which owns YouTube, and Facebook are too powerful and need to be regulated. Events such as that which occurred Thursday are likely to fuel criticism on the right and suggestions that Big Tech needs to be reined in.
What do you think? Should federal lawmakers break up the tech giants? Or would they just make matters worse?
Jonathan Miltimore is the Managing Editor of FEE.org. His writing/reporting has appeared in TIME magazine, The Wall Street Journal, CNN, Forbes, Fox News, and the Washington Times.