Is Johnson Trying to Game Search Results?

Could admissions around buses, kissing kippers and saying he’s the “model of restraint” really downplay negative search results?

It has been a curious few months in politics, but one of the strangest theories being whispered on social media and in Westminster involves Boris Johnson’s increasingly odd proclamations.

In June, the prime minister admitted he paints old wine boxes into buses. In July, he brandished a kipper to incorrectly claim that EU rules were stifling the fishing industry. In September, he spoke in front of the police. And this week, he’s claimed he’s the “model of restraint” in the face of allegations he is using violent language to turn public opinion against opponents of Brexit.

One theory is that Johnson is trying to downplay negative news coverage of events by seeding news stories into Google search results by using similar phrases and key terms that are more positive. For instance – the hypothesis goes – by saying he was the “model of restraint”, Johnson was attempting to divert attention from stories detailing his alleged affair with former model Jennifer Arcuri, which became less visible in search results for “Boris Johnson model”.

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