The Arizona GOP candidate said Google won’t let you search his campaign website. He disabled the search
The news of the GRID has decided to examine this claim from Finchem. He saw that Finchem’s campaign page was indeed missing from any Google searches for his name or campaign. The only way to find Finchem’s website was to directly type in the URL. And, as GRID notes, Finchem’s online presence is like three-year-old vomit spewing hot garbage, so you imagine his campaign page would show up in searches.* However, GRID was able to confirm that “Finchem’s site was coded to explicitly instruct Google and other search engines not to index it.”
As Will Adler, senior technologist for elections and democracy at the Center for Democracy and Technology, told GRID: “There are two possibilities here. The first is that the Finchem campaign incorrectly configured their site not to be indexed. The other is that the campaign deliberately configured it not to be indexed, so that Finchem could falsely blame the “algorithm” for its website not to be indexed.
Finchem’s Twitter feed is one misleading story after another. It’s a never-ending stream of voter fraud accusations, all long ago refuted, coupled with promotions of his accounts on other media platforms like the failing Truth Social Trump shell game. There may not be a single true thing ever written, posted or retweeted by Finchem’s prodigious social media accounts. As Adler told GRID, you really need to make sure that you don’t allow Google to list your website in searches by actively clicking a “no” on the options page in preferences, “Which seems like a weird thing to do when you’re running a campaign, frankly.”
Also, GRID was able to look back and see that this is not a circumstance where the website was created and the search function was disabled. This move wouldn’t be all that unusual as a sort of soft launch of a site while sending friends and copy the editors on the site to make sure everything is perfect. But that’s not what happened here.
Archived copies of the site indicate that the “noindex” code was inserted into the Finchem site between mid-July and August 1. Previous snapshots of the site do not include the command.
As with everything in the fractured Republican Party these days, anything resembling the sanity of an elected official when it comes to Trump’s Big Lie campaign plots has been met with an avalanche of attacks from Trump’s Big Lie election conspirators, including Donald Trump himself. Finchem has no problem in that department, having fully embraced the alternate reality where he and a few of his white law enforcement officials and billionaire donors represent the only voters in the country.
* Finchem’s various conspiracy theories and bad politics do appear in searches, but not on the campaign page.
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After an eruption of even more scandal among Republican Senate candidates, FiveThirtyEight’s Nathaniel Rakich returns to Downvoting this week to discuss the effect these types of scandals can have on competitive racing; whether the Democrats have a chance of keeping the House; and the different ways pollsters create models of likely voters.