Beltway legacy conservative think tanks and organizations have now joined hands with search behemoth Google to protect the monopolies of massive Silicon Valley tech companies, according to a report from Wired quoting leaked audio from an internal company meeting.
In light of recent criticism of big tech companies from right-of-center and conservative circles, it seems Google is seeking to make inroads with right-leaning Americans by appealing to establishment conservative publications such as National Review, and the neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute.
In Wired’s leaked audio, Google’s US Director of Public Policy, Adam Kovacevich, spoke of the company’s desire to improve its public image on the American political right.
“I think one of the directives we’ve gotten very clearly from Sundar [Pichai, Google’s CEO], his leadership is to build deeper relationships with conservatives. I think we’ve recognized that the company is generally seen as liberal by policymakers.”
Despite frequently claiming to be “unbiased,” Google has indeed acquired a reputation for staunch corporate leftism in many conservative circles. Employees of the company were revealed as advocates for deplatforming content creators and publishers deemed inconvenient to the political left in the aftermath of the 2016 Presidential election.
Kovacevich would go on to describe the company’s successful PR efforts in regards to the American Enterprise Institute, when speaking about an effort to counter a New York Times article that suggested breaking up Google.
“Just to give you an example, last weekend The New York Times Magazine cover story was all about breaking up Google. Among the people who wrote op-eds and blog posts rebutting that Times piece were two conservative think-tank officials who we work with closely—one from the American Enterprise Institute and one from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who both attended [the reception].”
Kovacevich went on to recognize that many of the company’s liberal and progressive employees were unhappy that Google had been an official sponsor of CPAC- rationalizing the sponsorship by describing it as an essential element of Google’s influence operations targeting conservatives.
Google’s attempt to woo conservatives also seems to have been effective enough to get an article from a Google-funded think tank published by National Review, pushing back against calls on the right to recognize Google as a monopoly liable to anti-trust enforcement.
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Twitter Suspending Bloomberg Bots for Coordinated Fake Engagement
The Bloomberg campaign is taking a page from the strategy of supposed Russian bots.
Twitter began suspending more than 70 pro-Michael Bloomberg accounts from its platform on Friday, citing supposed inauthentic and coordinated behavior.
The platform was alerted to the suspicious behavior by the Los Angeles Times, and shortly after began suspending the accounts.
The reports of the Bloomberg bots are reminiscent of the claims of Russian bots waging influence campaigns in U.S elections. Both operations apparently involve scripted messaging, fake political engagement, and platform manipulation.
Evidence of identical messaging being spread by dubious pro-Bloomberg accounts was published by the Los Angeles Times in their report on the matter Friday.
A statement from Twitter on the suspensions confirmed the Bloomberg shill accounts violated the platform’s rules by “creating multiple accounts to post duplicative content” and “coordinating with or compensating others to engage in artificial engagement or amplification, even if the people involved use only one account.”
The accounts avoid direct connections to the Bloomberg campaign, in an attempt to avoid being identified as coordinated shill accounts.
Bloomberg is paying a considerable cohort of “deputy field organizers” $2,500 a month to shill for the New York oligarch on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The messaging strategy is relatively unprecedented in American politics, offering cash directly for a constant stream of political messaging on personal social media accounts.
The Bloomberg campaign claims that paid deputy field organizers are required to identify their affiliation with the campaign in a statement regarding the suspensions. As Bloomberg’s online social media strategy copies a page from the book of supposed malicious Russian bots, high-ranking U.S intelligence community personnel are claiming that the Russian bots are active once again in attempts to promote the campaigns of both Bernie Sanders and President Donald Trump.
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