Brexiteers have complained that search engines like Google are delivering too many pro-EU results – after a report suggested pro-Brexit websites lack prominence.
A new study carried out on Google by Searchmetrics has found the BBC was the most visible website for Brexit news – taking up a market share of 29% in its analysis.
But it also found out that the Guardian and the Independent featured heavily in the results.
The firm carried out research in October on a number of search terms including the “Brexit border issue”, “Brexit pound news” and questions like “can Brexit be cancelled?”
The research also found that The Sun’s website was most prominent for searches surrounding a no-deal Brexit.
Stephen Bench-Capon, senior content marketing manager at Searchmetrics, suggested the results showed that the BBC is “number one authority for relevant online information about Britain’s exit from the European Union” in the eyes of Google.
But Capon adds that the appearance of the Guardian as the second most prominent news provider suggests Google search results “are more likely to feature pro-remain coverage, with pro-Brexit reports in the Daily Express, Telegraph or Sun appearing less frequently”.
But he also added that “expertise, authority and trust are big factors in ranking high up on Google search”.
The report has sparked Brexiteers to demand a change at Google to feature more pro-Brexit results.
David Morris, a Tory Brexiteer MP, told Mail Online the results “did not appear to match the views of the British people” – despite an overwhelming majority of polls now backing Remain.
He said: “They need to show us the world as it is, not how they want it to be.”
He continued: “Everyone uses Google, so how its searches work is really important for our democracy.
“From this research, it looks like they are biased towards left-leaning, anti-Brexit news sites – and that does not reflect the views of the public.”
Conservative Brexiteer and former culture secretary John Whittingdale said he hoped Google would “consider” the report.
He said: “I am sure Google would want not to be seen to be politically leaning in either direction. Google is a search engine, it is not a campaigning organisation.”