Nadine Dorries claimed algorithms were being manipulated to “nudge opinion ever leftwards” and ensure the “content people read online is left-leaning”.
Nadine Dorries has launched an astonishing attack on big tech, alleging the industry uses “big dials” to promote left-wing content on the internet.
The former digital, culture, media and sport secretary also contended that Google had used its “dial” against her ahead of a meeting she had with the search giant.
In her regular column for the Daily Mail, the ex-Tory MP claimed algorithms were being manipulated to “nudge opinion ever leftwards” and ensure the “content people read online is left-leaning”.
She wrote how an unnamed person explained the process to her. Dorries was told to imagine that Silicon Valley has “big dials” where tech bosses “can turn them up” and “turn them down at will” in order to prioritise content.
And she alleges she has first-hand experience of this as the result of the Google meeting.
She wrote: “I had a meeting with UK Google executives coming up, so my team and I did a Google search using my name. What topped the list were negative news stories in left-leaning publications.”
Dorries continued how, at the meeting, one of the executives took out their phone and said: “Are you sure that’s what happened? It doesn’t happen when I search your name.”
She went on: “He handed me his phone and I was amazed to see he was right. I checked my own phone and it was the same. I felt foolish and apologised. But that feeling lasted for only 24 hours. The following day, my team searched my name again and it was back to what we had seen before. Someone obviously had their hand on the Google dial prior to that meeting.”
On X, formerly Twitter, many were struggling with elements of the story.
Nadine Dorries, who until last year was in charge of digital regulation in the UK, says tech executives have “big dials” which they deliberately use to “nudge opinion ever leftwards” and suggests this was somehow hidden from her when she met them pic.twitter.com/Svv3uIt2qK
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) October 24, 2023
I’ve been a tech journalist since 2008 and I haven’t ever seen the “big dials” in Silicon Valley that Nadine Dorries writes about today. Maybe one day….!
— Zoe Kleinman (@zsk) October 24, 2023
I absolutely believe that somebody told Nadine Dorries this and I congratulate them heartily on keeping a straight face. That she believed such bilge is, of course, utterly unsurprising. https://t.co/nBu0eddRlD
— James O'Brien (@mrjamesob) October 24, 2023
Actual footage of Mr Google in California calibrating the Lefty dials against Nadine Dorries pic.twitter.com/71V75hu47t
— Labradorfan123 (@LabradorFan123) October 24, 2023
Mail column by former DCMS Secretary Nadine Dorries today on the “big dials” that control search results. What does it tell us about the sincerity of the UK’s tech ambitions about which we hear so much that she was given the post? pic.twitter.com/6zOvur2ttp
— Matthew Holehouse (@mattholehouse) October 24, 2023
Nadine Dorries explains how Google's big dials go up to 11. pic.twitter.com/uElfxXHliH
— Hugh Osborne (@Available4Panto) October 24, 2023
It’s not the first time critics have suggested Dorries was not entirely across her brief.
As culture secretary, she didn’t seem to fully grasp how Channel 4 was funded as she claimed the broadcaster was in “receipt of public money”, which came at a time the government was considering privatising the publicly-owned, commercially-funded organisation.