Ashwin Agrawal: “The truth is, a deep platform is influencing you in a way that you didn’t sign up for.”
Agrawal: “If you’re a Democrat and you see more and more Democrat [content], you're not given an opportunity to change your mind.”
Agrawal: “Biden creating 500 ads, one for each mission—but, each of us only seeing the one that we care about.”
Agrawal: “If I say that tomorrow, that I’m a Trump supporter, I’d probably lose my job.”
James O’Keefe: “Google is the most dominant Big Tech company in the world and its power to shape our politics is very scary.”
[Silicon Valley, Calif.—Oct. 21, 2020] One of the most senior leaders in Google’s Cloud division told a Project Veritas journalist exactly how the search engine and social media giant manipulates how users act and feel politically.
“All of the social media and the online platforms know your political leanings,” said Ashwin Agrawal, the head of global competitive analysis at Google Cloud. “Now, the more you see a Biden ad, the more, you know, passionate or the more sort of leaning you're going to come for Biden.”
James O’Keefe, the founder and CEO of Project Veritas, said, “Google is the most dominant Big Tech company in the world and its power to shape our politics is very scary.”
Agrawal said Google algorithms identify Democratic voters and work to keep them as Democrats.
“If you’re a Democrat and you see more and more Democrat, you're not given an opportunity to change your mind,” he said.
Journalist: “I could see how it's interesting, from a data perspective, is if the algorithm favors certain ads over others that can dramatically impact an election. Right?”
Agrawal: “Yeah, totally.”
“I think you can feed so much Democratic ads, but this is content that they have not wanted to see, or they've just being fed, right?” he said. “All day, if I'm on YouTube, you know, two hours a day and I'm given, like, 50 ads, Democrat again.”
Unlike traditional television political advertising, a candidate, such as former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., the 2020 Democratic nominee for president, can make hundreds of different ads and narrowcast them to very specific audiences, he said.
“That's the problem. I'm not only a Democratic addict, but I'm getting local ads that are aligned with the mission and the cause that I believe in,” he said.
“Your pattern, your history, and right, like everything that you see, when you go to YouTube.com, everything is recommendation based,” he said.
“Some people, when they would find out about that, may become very uncomfortable because it's not like normal TV advertising, the personalization aspect of it,” Agrawal said. “Even the idea of like, you know, Biden creating 500 ads, one for each mission—but each of us only seeing the one that we care about.”
Agrawal, who is a leading member of Google Cloud’s global competitive analysis team, said his company has more than one way to influence elections.
How Google influences behavior
“There are many ways, right? I think ads is one way,” he said. “I think another way is search results, right? YouTube is going to be another one.”
Google and the social media platforms are actively working to affect political behavior, he said.
Ashwin Agrawal: “No one's complaining about the fact that the political ads that you get are actually based on your political leanings, right? So, if the algorithm understands that you’re a Democrat, you're going to see Democratic ads, right? And—"
Journalist: “For Biden—"
Agrawal: “Right. But the question is, is that the right kind of influence or not?”
Google users oblivious to how they are manipulated
Agrawal said he regrets how Google exercises control over users without them becoming aware of how they are affected.
“I think, the thing that I feel worse about is that people don't know that it's happening to them,” he said.
“That for me is the thing that I feel, like, truly for me, sad about,” he said. “I think it doesn't matter whether someone in Facebook or Google is sitting and thinking about this. The truth is, a deep platform is influencing you in a way that you didn’t sign up for.”
Google’s culture makes it impossible for Trump supporters to work there
Ashwin Agrawal: “If I say that tomorrow, that I’m a Trump supporter, I’d probably lose my job.”
Agrawal: “Yeah, and I think it wouldn't be direct, but indirectly it would become very, very hard for me to stay there.”
Journalist: “Because they couldn't directly fire you, right?”
Agrawal: “No, they couldn't. Nobody could do that, but I think it would become very, very hard for me to stay there-- because you know, it's the peer pressure, it’s the social pressure.”
Agrawal: “And then, uh, you know, being a Trump supporter is being a bad person.”
About Project Veritas
James O'Keefe established Project Veritas in 2011 as a non-profit journalism enterprise to continue his undercover reporting work. Today, Project Veritas investigates and exposes corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud, and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society. O'Keefe serves as the CEO and Chairman of the Board so that he can continue to lead and teach his fellow journalists, as well as protect and nurture the Project Veritas culture.
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