Google Paid Academic Researchers to Help Sway Opinion and Public Policy

The search engine giant financed research that would defend against regulations.

July 12, 2017 2:42 pm
Google Funded Research
The Wall Street Journal reports that Google paid researchers for papers that would help fight regulation. (Getty Images)

One internet company’s influence extends offline to college campuses.

Google runs a program that uses professors to publish research in support of the company’s stance on regulations that would inhibit its market dominance. The search engine giant paid academic researchers at schools like Harvard University and the University of California, Berkeley.

Professors were given anywhere between $5,000 and $400,000 to write papers that would sway opinion in favor of the search engine giant, Wall Street Journal reports. For instance, the company used research generated from paying professors to fight antitrust accusations from the Federal Trade Commission in 2012.

Google developed a wish list of papers that included titles, abstracts, and budgets and then shopped them around to professors willing to take the money. The relationship wasn’t always disclosed by professors, especially when it came to the payments they received Google.

According to the Wall Street Journal, several academics gave their papers to Google, allowing the company to make suggestions before they were published. Researchers said they weren’t given stipulations when dolling out the cash.

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