The Algorithm Method


Leaked documents show how YouTube created a blacklist for search terms related to last year’s abortion referendum.

[US-based] Project Veritas has obtained a youtube-blacklist-large-upload from an insider at YouTube which appears to show the manipulation of political content in an Irish election.

The document entitled, “youtube_controversial_query_blacklist,” seems to show a series of blacklisted terms by YouTube.

These terms include phrases that are directly related to the referendum that occurred in May of 2018 to repeal the 8th Amendment in Ireland.

In the run-up to the vote, Google publicly announced that it had suspended all advertising connected to the referendum as part of an effort to protect “election integrity.”

Said Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe:

“On Monday Project Veritas released a viral investigation that raised questions of Google’s interference in American elections.  This new document shows their subsidiary, YouTube, appeared to have attempted to influence elections in Ireland.”

A YouTube spokesperson said:

“… In the midst of the Irish referendum on abortion, our systems brought authoritative content to the top of our search results for abortion-related queries. This happened for both pro-choice and pro-life queries, there was no distinction.”

Leaked You Tube Doc Appears To Show Election Interference (Project Veritas)


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41 thoughts on “The Algorithm Method

  1. newsjustin

    * Waits for Broadsheet commentors to cast off their usual cynicism, distrust of big tech and government to explain why this was actually a good thing because abortion*

      1. newsjustin

        I don’t think (nor, I suspect, does anyone sensible) that we should re-run the referendum on account of this.

        I do think it’s a little alarming and requires further investigation. And less whataboutery.

        What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If you’re cool to let this one slide because you think the right side one, you may be disappointed the next time around when this happens on another topic.

        1. Jasper

          From reading the article, it would appear a private foreign company blacklisted a bunch of search terms (both retain / repeal viewpoints) in the run up to a referendum. What am I missing here?

          YouTube is not the sanest of platforms at the best of times. Allowing the worst of both sides to perpetuate bile serves no useful purpose that I can think of. Perhaps you have an issue with the ‘authoritative content’ being promoted, which could be seen as open to interference?

          What are you suggesting is being let slide here? Private company makes business decision? Are you suggesting that YouTube’s search parameters somehow nefariously decided the referendum result?

          I do usually welcome your opposing viewpoints on a range of topics, but sometimes I feel you need to step outside and have a word with yourself.

          1. newsjustin

            Why would “Abortion Rights Campaign Ireland”, “Constitution and abortion”, “Abortion up to 12 weeks” be so troubling that they require blacklisting and a specific response?

            “Authoritative content” sounds lovely until you ponder who decides on what is and what isn’t authoritative, and why. Maybe YouTube could explain that.

            I’m suggesting that we, as a society, may want to take an interest in how this came about and if it’ll be a regular feature of elections and referenda in the future. And if that’s a welcome development.

  2. dav

    well that makes the result null and void, lets go back to forcing women to go to England, or maybe we can reopen the laundries and knock a bit of work out of them here..

  3. Tom

    Nice headline, and kudos for drawing attention to this. Now, as I’m a bit thick on these matters, is it legit and what exactly does it mean?

    1. millie st murderlark


      I’m the equivalent of a village idiot when it comes to techie stuff. An explainer of sorts would be appreciated.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        They control the information you see in Search and YouTube, promoting what Google staffers like and blacklisting what they don’t like.

        Google deny it.

        Documents show discussions between staff, where certain pundits/YouTubers who have gained popularity, that they disagree with, and they call “Nazis”. The Google staff then discuss how to stop these vids getting views.
        Google made statements when the first video broke, that they were unbiased.
        AFTER that statement, the documents discussing certain pundits was released showing that the Google statement was an outright lie.
        They then pulled videos rapidly getting millions of views exposing this.

        I agree, Project Veritas has not always been straight up. See another commenters post below re James OKeeffe.

        But you don’t need to have any care for the messenger, Project Veritas/James OKeeffe, in this, as it is the content of the message that is at issue.
        And the denials that followed.
        And the further release showing the denials to be lies that followed that.

          1. newsjustin

            If only The Times Ireland were still around, they’ed have tackled it.

            Lol….no they wouldn’t.

        1. Ciuncainteach

          Saying that Project Veritas hasn’t always been straight up is a hyperbolic understatement. I’m not discounting the possibility that there was interference, but I for one would like to see the contention substantiated by an outlet with a strong reputation for investigative journalism.

          Either way, the de-facto monopoly power of Alphabet, Facebook, and other tech giants in the media publishing (which is what they are) sector is detrimental to democracy and they either need to be heavily regulated as publishers or broken up under anti-trust law.

        2. Termagant

          “I for one would like to see the contention substantiated by an outlet with a strong reputation for investigative journalism. ”

          Like who?

  4. Jim

    From my reading of the list they are blocking out queries related to both sides of the argument so it’s a balanced blacklist no?

    Or is there a problem there’s a blacklist at all?

  5. Clampers Outside!

    One of the videos pulled shows a top Google employee make specific statements about how they were getting ready to stop Trump 2020.

    No, I don’t support him.

    My point… this is interference with democracy, doesn’t matter who or what is being targeted.

    This is bigger than Facebook’s problems, as this is Alphabet – Google/Youtube – itself and not a third party that is conducting the interference in democratic processes.
    Alphabet can’t pass the buck on this, as it is themselves and their staff who are directly responsible for the interference.

    * we’re gonna need a bigger popcorn bucket *

    1. newsjustin

      Clampers, the problem here is that all of this is presented, in this case, in the context of the abortion referendum. This means that some people are conflicted. They were delighted with the result of the referendum, so are slow to accept that these worrying practices may have gone on.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        That’s an Irish context example. They are at it all over the place by the looks of it.

        They’ll bring regulation on themselves… or a break up of Alphabet, which would be a good thing.

  6. cuplarudarsin

    1. Where does it show that those terms were used as a blacklist for searches? – the linked article just has the same lists – they are just lists; where does it show that they are lists that were used as search strings that were manipulated?

    2. Breitbart. Srsly? Breit-bart. OH COME ON!

    I believe the Hulkster would say we’re being worked into a shoot by the rag sheets brother.

  7. Gabby

    Phew! We weren’t manipulated by the Chinese or the Russians. Take a bow, Mr. Putin and Mr. Xi.

  8. A Person

    So YouTube decides what videos should be allowed and what should not be allowed? And this is bad? How? Sure why can’t anyone say anything they want without any kind of moderation. Lets post anything we want.

    1. Termagant

      Moderation is fine once the moderators are up-front about their moderation. Once an observer clearly understands what slant if any is being applied to what they’re seeing. Which isn’t the case with Youtube.

      1. A Person

        Sorry, YouTube like every other online media is a platform for opinions. Don’t watch if you don’t agree. Isn’t this the issue with social media.? We all get to say whatever we want, but hey its your opinion. If anyone dares to “mediate” that input, then it’s all wrong, censorship, big companies etc. Anytime I mention Gemma and the pathetic BS coverage of her on here, I am censored. So its ok for a small website to do the same but for Google to do it, it is interfering in elections? If you are that influenced by websites, and can’t make up your own mind, don’t vote.

  9. italia'90

    Can we not just blame Russsia, Russia, Russia and be done with it?
    And those sneaky Ayatollahs of roc n rollah? Moving their country into the middle of all those US military bases!

    Tim Pool has a good vid up on yt about this subject.
    Even Tucker Carlson is getting this one right as well.
    I can’t believe that I have to watch Faux news sometimes to get an honest, informed piece of journalism.

    1984 wan’t an instructional manual ffs…

  10. Al Bin Man

    Privately held media Co regulated published content

    That’s the story? Seriously? That’s ITTTT?!!!

    *needs more pitchforks

  11. Daisy Chainsaw

    Like anyone with a lick of sense gets their information from You Tube? It’s full of altright dregs and nutjobs like Gemtrails.

  12. Timmy_Brussell

    The Russians must have hacked into youtube on Drumpf’s orders and changed all these things around.

  13. Mike Parle

    From parlem

    The fact that post the 2018 Referendum the ABORTION law was manipulated and fiddled and then voted through by Irish Politicians doesn’t make it right morally.

    Bringing in a LAW doesn’t change something that’s wrong to being right.

    Abortion is ALWAYS a choice between killing a human being or allowing her/him to live!.

    It will always be that choice.

    Is it not horrific that after 3,285 (data source: Dail record S Harris) overseas abortions in 2018 the latest forecast for this year is 10,000 (Data Source: Holles Street Board).

    Ireland is in a very deep moral crisis.

    Mike Parle, Leixlip Pro-Life Group

    1. Cian

      The referendum was to allow the Irish politicians write legislation for abortion.
      The politicians wrote legislation (That was effectively what they said it would be).

      This year 10000 women will avail of (safe) legal abortion in Ireland – last year they were forced abroad or forced to buy (unsafe) tables online.

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