Google Whistleblower Says Company Rewrote Algorithm to Thwart Trump

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Zach Vorhies speaks at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Vorhies, a Google whistleblower who stepped forward in 2019, said in an interview with Epoch Times that the Silicon Valley giant’s “Fake News Team” was actually working to thwart Donald Trump in 2016.
Zach Vorhies speaks at the 2021 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Florida. Vorhies, a Google whistleblower who stepped forward in 2019, said in an interview with Epoch Times that the Silicon Valley giant’s “Fake News Team” was actually working to thwart Donald Trump in 2016. (Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr CC-BY-SA 2.0)

A former Google engineer who stepped forward in 2019 to blow the whistle on a shift in company policy away from technology and towards controlling the public’s perception and narrative through search engine rankings says the cornerstone of the Big Tech cartel rewrote its algorithm to thwart former President Donald Trump

Zach Vorhies made the comments in an August 13 interview with Josh Philipp, host of Epoch Times’ Crossroads, while promoting a co-authored book based on his story titled Google Leaks: A Whistleblower’s Exposé of Big Tech Censorship.

Vorhies said that according to internal documents (thoroughly elaborated on in his book) which he viewed, saved, and later made public; Google originally began rewriting its search engine’s algorithm during Trump’s spat with former FBI Director James Comey around the since-debunked Russiagate conspiracy theory.

He said the tool Google designed to alter search rankings to display a favorable anti-Trump view to the world’s people was called “Realtime Hivemind Scoring,” noting it ran on the Silicon Valley giant’s main artificial intelligenc computing cluster, aptly named the “Borg Cluster,” a reference to a collectivist, alien antagonist that harkens to the ideals of total communism in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

An ideological battle

Vorhies has no love for Google, calling his former employer “the world’s most dangerous, totalitarian, globalist corporation.” When Philipp asked Vorhies if believed Google’s motivations were ideological, the answer was affirmative, “It is ideological, and here’s why: They base the score off of what the mainstream media says, and also what Wikipedia says. Now the problem with Wikipedia is they’ve gone from using primary sources to using secondary sources that describe the primary sources.”

He said this was a crucial point for independent business owners and publications because once a hit piece is published “Your website will likely face a penalty in the next three to six months.” 

The former engineer called Wikipedia a “defamation laundering engine,” emphasizing that it is crucial for those who are targeted by hit pieces to fight back and force the printing of a retraction for the sole purpose of preventing Wikipedia from citing defamation as truth, giving Google the handle to bury their business.

The Borg Collective - Star Trek: First Contact movie 1996 - Star Trek : Exploring New Worlds exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. The “Borg Cluster” is what whistleblower Zach Vorhies says Google calls their primary artificial intelligence supercomputer cluster.
The Borg Collective – Star Trek: First Contact movie 1996 – Star Trek : Exploring New Worlds exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum, Dearborn, Michigan. The “Borg Cluster” is what whistleblower Zach Vorhies says Google calls their primary artificial intelligence supercomputer cluster. (Image: Joe Ross via Flickr CC-BY-SA 2.0)

In June, an example of how Wikipedia is tightly wed to Google was found when a user of social-marketing platform Reddit posted a screenshot of search results for the question “Does the South China Sea belong to China?” a contentious issue between the Chinese Communist Party, Taiwan, and other Southeast Asian countries. 

The result displayed was a verbatim algorithmic citation from the Wikipedia entry for the South China Sea that quoted propaganda from CCP Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu presented as if it were fact in Google’s Featured Snippet function.

In July, Wikipedia co-founder Larry Sanger published a blistering criticism of the site, saying it had become a form of “thought police” as he broke down how Wikipedia handled both of Donald Trump’s impeachment trials, the Hunter Biden scandal, Antifa and Black Lives Matter riots, and 2020 Presidential Election fraud.

“Wikipedia took the Democrats’ side against Trump, period. The articles are so biased, in fact, that it is fair to call them ‘propaganda’,” said Sanger.

Search engines as a political weapon

Elaborating on the political weaponization of technology, Vorhies said that the ideological and moral issues in play made their intentions self-evident, “When Google went IPO they had a Constitution and they made a promise to their stockholders and the world and what they said was they were going to be politically neutral.”

“And for them to just turn on a dime when the wrong presidential candidate got elected to office through a democratic process, shows that the only reason why they would change it is because it’s political, in my opinion.”

“Now that we have this rapid changing of the narrative, pretty much every month now, they need to have an automated way in which they can sort of shift the definition of truth and then rerank all the different news articles based on that,” he stated.

Vorhies worked with Google for 8.5 years, mostly in Google Earth and as a developer for the company’s video game console apps. He noted that the company had a transparent internal structure, meaning any employee in any division could see what other divisions were working on using internal tools 

Google had a team titled the Fake News Team (FNT) that was tasked with handling the 2016 showdown between the populist Donald Trump and the establishment Hillary Clinton. As the battle played out, Vorhies began to look into what the FNT division was working on, “I saw what they were doing, I saw their design documents. That led to other documents, and then every single time I saw this document I said ‘This is so out of normal expectations. I should just download this…because they’re eventually going to realize how evil it is and they’re going to lock it down’.”

“Once I found the fake news documents, I realized that the fake news examples that they were using…I started to get this inkling that it really wasn’t about censoring the fake news. It was about putting the thumb on the election scales.”

‘Machine Learning Fairness

According to Vorhies, Google is now using a set of code called Machine Learning Fairness (MLF), which he describes as “Critical Race Theory combined with algorithmic reranking and classification of data on the Internet.”

MLF is software that builds what he calls “classifiers,” defined as, “A specialized collection of artificial intelligence neural nets that are trained to identify and label information either as racist or as misinformation or as untrue.”

“They use these classifiers in order to label information in real time as it comes out. And when they build it, they actually have a staff of human readers who go through and label it manually.”

He also says Google’s designs are not only able to automatically rip the audio of videos uploaded to YouTube and transcribe it to text for AI classification, but is able to classify images through metadata and can also determine a user’s location by cellular tower triangulation, even if they have turned the location sensor on their phone off. 

“Essentially, we had full time monitoring of everyone that’s using an Android phone whether you had it turned on or turned off. The only thing that you would do is decrease the accuracy in which they could track you,” he said.

Vorhies also warned in light of the recent Project Pegasus spyware scandal, “There’s also a number of unknown exploits that exist on all the different processors.”

Conscience and a sense of justice

As for why Vorhies decided to blow the whistle on Google and lose his more-than-$250,000 per year career, he said it was a matter of conscience, “I wanted to give the Americans and the people that love America and love the freedom and liberties, I want to give them one final chance to be able to stop this thing.” 

“Because I saw it as an insider that this was happening and Google at the same time was deriding everyone and saying that they’re a conspiracy theorist for believing that this is what was happening.”

“And so I wanted to take conspiracy theory and turn it into conspiracy fact,” Vorhies said definitively. “Now we know what they were up to. We know what Machine Learning Fairness is. We know that they’re essentially operating as a foreign propaganda intelligence outlet. They’re not pro-American. They’re trying to destabilize America and subvert it.”

Vorhies encouraged the public to, instead of relying on lawmakers to utilize antitrust laws or other legislative methods to deal with Google and YouTube, to instead turn to alternative technologies, “When all else fails, the fact that people are now moving to other technologies like DuckDuckGo and these other services, means that we’ve got a shot at using the free market to overcome totalitarianism.”

  • Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.