GOOGLE has admitted to secretly hiding some news sites from users as part of an “experiment”.
The controversial test – which is still ongoing in Australia – has been slammed as “chilling”.
Block news sites are completely scrubbed from search results as part of the test.
Instead, users searching for those pages will simply see links to other websites like Facebook, Twitter or Wikipedia.
Australia’s government is currently trying to force Google and Facebook to pay for showing local news.
Facebook has already warned that it may block Australians from sharing local news.
And Google has also criticised the proposals by warning Australian users directly in messages.
Google’s latest experiment was spotted by the Australian Financial Review this week, and was later confirmed by the tech giant.
“We’re currently running a few experiments that will each reach about 1% of Google Search users,” a Google spokesperson said.
The aim was to “measure the impact of news businesses and Google Search on each other”.
Google says the project is set to end in early February.
And the US tech giant boasted that it provided $218million worth of web traffic in 2018 alone.
According to Google, it runs tens of thousands of search tests a year.
But Google’s test has been met with fury from news firms.