Complete A-Z of Questions People Ask Google

Here is a complete A-Z of the top Google Suggestions covering all questions people ask.

In other words a list of the top Google Suggestions for:

  • ‘Why…’
  • ‘Who…’
  • ‘Where…’
  • ‘When…’
  • ‘What…’
  • ‘How…’
  • along with each of those with every letter of the alphabet added. (ie. ‘why a…’, ‘why b…’, etc).
why is the sky blue who unfollowed me where is chuck norris
why do we yawn who is where’s wally
why do cats purr who calls me wherever you will go lyrics
why am i always tired who left x factor wherever you will go
why am i so tired who wants to be a millionaire where is the love lyrics
why do we dream who invented the internet where is merlin filmed
why is the sea salty who sampled where the wild things are
why do we celebrate halloween who was the first james bond where is downton abbey
why are manhole covers round who you are lyrics where eagles dare
why buy new who clothing where am i
Why A… Who A… Where A…
why am i always tired who ate all the pies where am i
why am i so tired who am i where are they now
why are manhole covers round who are the kardashians where are your kidneys
why are flamingos pink who am i lyrics where are mumford and sons from
why am i not losing weight who and whom where am i game
why am i always hungry who am i quiz where are your appendix
why am i so ugly who are the illuminati where are mk1 from
why are people gay who are the avengers where are you now
why are we here who are you where are the northern lights
why am i always cold who are ee where are the cotswolds
Why B… Who B… Where B…
why buy new who built the pyramids where brooklyn at
why be happy when you could be normal who built stonehenge where brooklyn at lyrics
why band who breastfeeding where best to see northern lights
why buy an ipad who built the moon where be that blackbird to
why become a teacher who built the eiffel tower where by
why buy a tablet who built the ark song where bananas grow
why boats who built the titanic where buy oyster card
why blog who built the pyramids in egypt where best to invest money
why bird who built the taj mahal where bats live
why become an accountant who built buckingham palace where bora bora
Why C… Who C… Where C…
why can’t i get pregnant who calls me where can i buy amazon gift cards
why can’t i lose weight who clothing where can i download movies for free
why can’t we be friends who created the internet where can i download free music
why can’t i get a job who can claim income support where can i watch the valleys online
why can’t i sleep who celebrates diwali where can i sell my books
why can’t i stop eating who cares scotland where can i download free albums
why cats purr who called where can i buy viagra
why can’t i get a boyfriend who cares trust where can i use paypal
why can graphite conduct electricity who created google where can i buy an ipad mini
why commercial law who created facebook where can i buy an oyster card
Why D… Who D… Where D…
why do we yawn who do you think you are where do penguins live
why do cats purr who dies in emmerdale where do bananas come from
why do we dream who discovered america where does harry styles live
why do we celebrate halloween who discovered electricity where did the titanic sink
why do men cheat who died today where does snot come from
why do dogs eat grass who dares wins where does chocolate come from
why do we cry who do i look like where does nigel slater live
why do people smoke who died in hollyoaks where did aids come from
why did hitler hate jews who definition of health where does helium come from
why do dogs lick who discovered dna where does gary barlow live
Why E… Who E… Where E…
why evolution is true who else is involved with jimmy savile where eagles dare
Why emulsifiers are added to some foods who else jimmy savile where ever you will go
why eat who else writes like where ever you will go lyrics
why exercise who europe where everybody knows your name
why electric ballroom who enforces health and safety law where exists
why eye man who enforces the hsw where eagles dare theme
why eat 5 a day who else is accused with jimmy saville where ever you go
why exercise is good for you who employment where everybody knows your name lyrics
why exercise is important who else was with jimmy saville where eagles dare lyrics
why evolution is wrong who else but quagmire where eagles dare music
Why F… Who F… Where F…
why fashion who framed roger rabbit wherefore art thou
why facebook is bad who flies where where food comes from
why finance who framed roger rabbit 2 where from where now
why fashion is important who framed roger rabbit characters where fred
why fashion republic who found america where flavour is king
why favourite a tweet who follows me where food comes from ks1
why football is better than rugby who follows who where french is spoken
why fill tyres with nitrogen who fought in world war 2 wherefore
why financial services who founded apple where foxes live
why facebook who fought in world war 1 where famous people live
Why G… Who G… Where G…
why go to university who gon stop me lyrics where good ideas come from
why get married who growth charts where going on a bear hunt
why georgia lyrics who got voted off strictly where gives student discount
why get an ipad who goes there where game of thrones filmed
why goldman sachs who guards the guards where go the boats
why god Why lyrics who gon stop me where god left his shoes
why grant thornton who gets child benefit where got ghost
why georgia tab who gets working tax credit where google lives
why gif who gave freddie mercury aids where giraffes live
why get a tablet who games where gold is found
Why H… Who H… Where H…
why has cj left eggheads who has played james bond where have you been
why house of fraser who has the most twitter followers where have you been lyrics
why has orange changed to ee who has died today where have all the flowers gone
why have i missed my period who has the highest iq where have all the cowboys gone
why hsbc who has won the most oscars where have you been all my life
why have i lost my voice who has unfollowed me on twitter where have all the flowers gone lyrics
why has janine left eastenders who has played dr who where has our arsenal gone
why heskey is better than messi who hosts where has dan lobb gone
why have kids who has taylor swift dated where has youtube app gone
why hitler hated jews who health definition where has cj gone from eggheads
Why I… Who I… Where I…
why is the sky blue who is where is chuck norris
why is the sea salty who invented the internet where is the love lyrics
why is my period late who invented electricity where is merlin filmed
why is my internet so slow who internet where is downton abbey
why is my hair falling out who is the stig where is rita ora from
why is loft insulation needed who is my mp where is hot in december
why is my computer so slow who is calling me where is hot in october
why is the sea blue who is demi lovato where is hot in november
why is communication important who invented the light bulb where is bora bora
why is yawning contagious who is banksy where is hot in january
Why J… Who J… Where J…
why jailbreak iphone who jobs where jesus was born
why jailbreak apple tv who just called me where james arthur from
why jailbreak ipad who just left x factor where jesus died
why jewellers who job vacancies where jesus walked
why jp morgan who just unfollowed me where james bond born
why join deloitte who just died where justin bieber lives
why join the army who jobs uk where jurassic park was filmed
why jailbreak ipad 2 who joined the eu in 2004 where john lennon was shot
why jailbreak ipad 3 who joined the league of nations where jews worship
why jailbreak ps3 who just died in hollyoaks where julius caesar died
Why K… Who K… Where K…
why kpmg who killed jfk where kids play
why kakashi killed rin who killed cock robin where kids play kettering
why kodak failed who knew lyrics where keith lemon from
why kun aguero who knows where the time goes where kosovo is located
why kpmg over big 4 who killed tupac where kidney pain
Why kardashians are famous who killed derek branning where kangaroos live
why keep fit who killed john lennon where koalas live
why kosher salt who killed martin luther king where keynes went wrong
why knead bread who killed jesus where kilimanjaro
why keep a journal who killed bambi where killer whales live
Why L… Who L… Where L…
why loft insulation is needed who left x factor where london
why learn a language who left x factor tonight where love lives
why lucy left x factor who let the dogs out where london magazine
why love matters who left strictly where learners grow
why lyrics who left strictly come dancing where like sql
why law who let the dogs out lyrics where like
why learn french who left strictly tonight where love lives lyrics
Why legislation relating to employment exists who left i’m a celebrity where lucy spraggan
why learn spanish who left i’m a celebrity last night where late the sweet birds sang
why learn latin who lived in my house where lesotho and what is its capital
Why M… Who M… Where M…
why men cheat who moved my cheese where my water
why men pull away who made the bayeux tapestry where me keys where me phone
why medicine who made god where my wellies take me
why me who made the internet where my perry
why mumps etc who manages one direction where memories meet
why morgan stanley who made google where my keys
why men fall in love who made your pants where my droid
why marketing who made facebook where my iphone
why must i cry who moved my cheese pdf where magazine
why must i be a teenager in love who made the first car where me keys where me phone lyrics
Why n… Who N… Where N…
why not edinburgh who needs a crb check where nobody knows lyrics
why not associates who names hurricanes where not exists
why nations fail who number is this where next
why not who narrates come dine with me where next association
why not zoidberg who narrates thomas the tank engine where next islington
why not both who needs public liability insurance where names come from
why not to vote for romney who named the planets where not to live in london
why not me lyrics who needs a tv licence where not exists sql
why not models who narrates classic car rescue where not to go in new york
why not hairdressing who needs a flu jab where not in sql
Why O… Who O… Where O…
why obama will win who or whom where or were
why orwell matters who owns domain where on earth is carmen sandiego
why obama won who owns the bank of england where or when
why onions make you cry who owns google where or when lyrics
why organic who owns harrods where our food comes from
why outsource who owns tesco where on earth
why obama sucks who owns mcdonalds where our food comes from ks1
why oxford who owns red bull where offers student discount
why oh why who owns amazon where on the body is the liver
why oliver wyman who owns aston martin where oh where oh where is shadow
Why P… Who P… Where P…
why poverty who phoned me where perry
why poverty bbc who played james bond where penguins live
why pwc who plays voldemort where polar bears live
why people wear poppies who plays mrs brown where plastic comes from
why people communicate who plays dumbledore where pail limbs lie
why people smoke who pain ladder where phrases come from
why pharmacy who painted the mona lisa where peaceful waters flow
why people cheat who plays thor where people live
why partition a hard drive who played darth vader where pizza originated
why people take drugs who put the colours in the rainbow where planes go to die
Why Q… Who Q… Where Q…
why quit who qualifies for legal aid where questions
why questions who qualifies for working tax credit where queen victoria born
why quotes who qualifies for income support where quasimodo lived
why qwerty who qualifies for free school meals where queen victoria lived
Why qualitative research who qualifies for child benefit where quality is cheaper
why quaggas became extinct who qualifies for dla where queen lives
why quality is important who qualifies for heating allowance where qualitative research is used
Why questionnaires are good in research who qualifies for free prescriptions where qatar
Why quantitative research who qualifies for flu jab where quotes
why quit caffeine who qualifies for council tax benefit where queen elizabeth 1 lived
Why R… Who R… Where R…
why root android who rang me where rainbows end
why recycle who runs the world where rita ora from
why root nexus 7 who rules the world where ravens dare
why republic who remembers me where rainbows end film
why read who represents where r your kidneys
why recycling is important who run the world lyrics where rainbows end movie
why reading is important who really killed jfk where rainbows end book
why religion is bad who reads the guardian where rivers flow into
Why recruitment who really runs the world where refined people live
why research who retweeted me where r u
Why S… Who S… Where S…
why stop now who sampled where should i live
why should we employ you who shot jr where shall i go on holiday
why so serious who scored where’s wally
why should we recycle who says lyrics where spirits have lease
why study history who shot jfk where sql
why study law who sings gangnam style where should eggs be stored
why study economics who shot john lennon where should i invest my money
why study psychology who sings titanium where silence has lease
why study languages who supplies my electricity where sayings come from
why should i worry lyrics who supplies my water where should i go on holiday quiz
Why T… Who T… Where T…
why the whales came who to follow on twitter where the wild things are
why this kolaveri who to follow on instagram where the trail ends
why the world will end in 2012 who to notify when you move where the truth lies
why teach who to call in a power cut where to live in london
why thank you who to address cover letter to where to stay in paris
why take folic acid who to marry in skyrim where the heart is
why the sky is blue who takes paypal where them girls at lyrics
why turkey at christmas who the hell cares where the hell is matt
why twilight sucks who tb where to eat in london
why the west rules for now who takes american express where to go in november
Why U… Who U… Where U…
why upgrade to windows 8 who unfollowed me where us the love lyrics
why ubs who unfollowed me on tumblr where u at lyrics
why use a lens hood who unfriended me on facebook where upon
why use twitter who unfollowed me on instagram where us malta
why use social media who used to live in my house where u at
why use paypal who used to present x factor where uk exports go
why u no who uk where us the love
why use linux who uses makaton where u been
why upgrade to ios 6 who u are lyrics where u from brudda
why use linkedin who unfollowed me free where u going
Why V… Who V… Where V…
why volunteer who vs whom where vs were
why vote for romney who votes for christopher maloney where volcanoes are found
why vote for obama who viewed my profile where vs having
why volcanoes erupt who vacancies where vanilla comes from
why vegan who voted off x factor where volcanoes occur
why visit london who voices spongebob where viruses are found
why vote who viewed my twitter where vitamin d is found
why volunteer abroad who voices stewie griffin where vs having sql
why vegetarian who voted off strictly where vampires come from
why visit new york who voices the argos aliens where vampires live
Why W… Who W… Where W…
why was the berlin wall built who wants to be a millionaire where was skyfall filmed
why will the world end in 2012 who went out of x factor where was crickley hall filmed
why women cheat who was the first james bond where was harry potter filmed
why wont my iphone sync who won x factor 2010 where was war horse filmed
why was jesus crucified who won x factor 2011 where was downton abbey filmed
why was the great wall of china built who wrote the bible where was mama mia filmed
why was franz
ferdinand assassinated
who was jack the ripper where was i
why was anne boleyn executed who wants to be a millionaire game where was rita ora born
why we fight who won the voice where was hot fuzz filmed
why wont my ipod sync who was voted off x factor where were
Why X… Who X… Where X…
why xbox is better than ps3 who x factor where x factor filmed
why xmas who xdr tb where x factor judges houses 2012
why x factor is bad who x factor 2010 where x
why x86 who xpert where xbox made
why xbox sucks who x factor judges 2012 where x in sql
why xbox is better than pc who x factor 2012 where x factor started
why xml who x whom where x factor
why x86 for 32
who x factor judges where can i download movies for free
why xhtml who xing where can i download free music
why xylem is described as a tissue who xpert mtb rif where can i watch the valleys online
Why Y… Who Y… Where Y…
why you heff to be mad who you are lyrics where you gonna sleep tonight
why you no who you are chords where you lead
why you shouldn’t smoke who you are where you at lyrics
why you little who you are jessie j chords where you gonna run to
why you want to work for us who you finna try where your treasure is
why yawn who you are guitar chords where you lead lyrics
why you are applying for an apprenticeship who you gonna call where you are lyrics
why you mad who you are tab where you will go lyrics
why you’re not married who you’re around lyrics meek where you lead rock choir
why you should stop smoking who you callin pinhead where you at
Why Z… Who Z… Where Z…
why zebras don’t get ulcers who zambia where zayn malik from
why zoos are bad who zimbabwe where zebras live
why zoos are good who zoomin who where zayn malik from originally
why zip files who zippy where zeus lives
why zoos should be banned whozoo where zeno taught
why zoos should not be banned who zoonotic diseases where zinc is found
why zurich who zanzibar where zayn malik was born
why zumba who z scores where zeus was born
why zoos are bad facts who zinc where zayn malik lives
why zara is successful who zeus father where zippo made
when is easter 2013 what car how i met your mother
when do clocks change what hi fi how to make pancakes
when is halloween what is my ip how to write a cv
when the lights went out what is gangnam style how did i do
when is children in need 2012 what time is it how to lose weight
when do the clocks go back what does yolo mean how to save a life lyrics
when will the world end what is love how to write a cover letter
when is eid 2012 what happened to lucy spraggan how to tie a tie
when is diwali 2012 what is my ip address how we do lyrics
when is the world going to end what the font how to draw
When A… What A… How A…
when a stranger calls what are cookies how are you in spanish
when are you most fertile what are prime numbers how are you in french
when a man loves a woman what are capers how are you in german
when am i ovulating what are piles how are hurricanes named
when am i most fertile what a wonderful world how are volcanoes formed
when a man loves a woman lyrics what are hd brows how are hurricanes formed
when am i due what are stem cells how are you in italian
when a child is born what app how are fossils formed
when a child is born lyrics what are the 7 wonders of the world how are sedimentary rocks formed
when are women most fertile what a wonderful world lyrics how are metamorphic rocks formed
When B… What B… How B…
when boris met dave what body shape am i how britain worked
when boys what bike how big is an acre
when baby due what benefits am i entitled to how big is the universe
when babies crawl what benefits can i get how big is the sun
when babies smile what becomes of the broken hearted how big is the moon
when britain ruled the skies what browser am i using how big is a2
when baby sit up what benefits can i claim how big is a1
when babies start teething what book should i read how big is a football pitch
when boris met dave watch online what bra size am i how bad do you want it
when baby sleep through night what brings on labour how bizarre
When C… What C… How C…
when can i retire what car how clean is your house
when can babies see what camera how can i lose weight
when can i take a pregnancy test what colours make brown how can i make money fast
when can i do a pregnancy test what causes cramp how can she slap
when can i upgrade my phone what causes mouth ulcers how clubbing changed the world
when can babies drink tap water what causes thrush how can i keep from singing
when can i get pregnant what county is london in how chocolate is made
when can you get pregnant what causes high blood pressure how children learn
when can babies drink water what car should i buy how cold is space
when can babies have cows milk what causes hiccups how can you catch hiv
When D… What D… How D…
when do clocks change what does yolo mean how did i do
when do the clocks go back what do dreams mean how did bruce lee die
when do you ovulate what does 3 mean how does twitter work
when does morning sickness start what does my name mean how did hitler die
when do babies smile what does reem mean how did bob marley die
when do babies start teething what do contractions feel like how do you get thrush
when does i’m a celebrity start what digital camera how does icloud work
when do babies crawl what do you call jokes how do you work out percentages
when do babies start talking what does jls stand for how do you delete facebook
when does winter start what does gangnam mean how do you make pancakes
When E… What E… How E…
when easter 2013 what eats spiders how effective is the pill
when eight bells toll what element are you how effective is the morning after pill
whenever what eats a fox how effective are condoms
when eid 2012 what ethnicity is rita ora how effective is the implant
when evil calls whatever happened to baby jane how enzymes work
when everything’s made to be broken whatever how earthquakes happen
when eagles dare what eats frogs how electricity works
when everything changes change everything what eats slugs how email works
when england won the world cup what elle wears how effective is the coil
when elephants weep what everyone wants how electricity is made
When F… What F… How F…
when feel baby move what film should i watch how far did i run
when father papered the parlour what font how fast is my internet
when friendship kills what foods contain iron how far pregnant am i
when fifa 13
what font is this how fast does the earth spin
when father papered the parlour lyrics what football is on tonight how fast is 4g
when facebook started what foods are high in protein how fast does hair grow
when flanders failed what foods contain protein how far is a click
when frederic was a little lad what foods contain vitamin b12 how fast is the speed of light
when fertile what foods are carbohydrates how far is a light year
when father was away on business what face shape do i have how fast can you type
When G… What G… How G…
when god was a rabbit what goes around comes around how great thou art
when goldilocks went to the house of the bears what graphics card do i have how great thou art lyrics
when gotham is ashes what generation is my ipod how great is our god lyrics
when good men do nothing what goes around comes around lyrics how green was my valley
when geeks wed what gets wetter as it dries how great is our god
when god made you lyrics what generation is my ipod touch how great is our god chords
when god made you what gas mark is 180 degrees how great thou art chords
when genius failed what game should i play how good is our school
when giants walked the earth what gets rid of garlic breath how glass is made
when gta 5 out what goes with salmon how gps works
When H… What H… How H…
when harry met sally what hi fi how hot is the sun
when hitler stole pink rabbit what happened to lucy spraggan how high
when harry tries to marry what happens in vegas how high 2
when harry met sally quotes what happened on this day how hot is lava
when halloween 2012 what happens when you die how high do planes fly
when harry met sally soundtrack what happened to april jones how hipster are you
when harry met sally trailer what happens after death how high is mount everest
when he plays piano in the dark what happened to riley in hollyoaks how heavy should i be
when harry met sally putlocker what hurts the most lyrics how he loves us lyrics
when he’s not a stranger what happened to dex in home and away how hurricanes form
When I… What I… How I…
when is easter 2013 what is my ip how i met your mother
when is halloween what is gangnam style how it should have ended
when is children in need 2012 what is love how it works
when is eid 2012 what is the time how it’s made
when is diwali 2012 what is my ip address how is babby formed
when is the world going to end what is the minimum wage how is crude oil formed
when is thanksgiving what is a prime number how is coal formed
when is my mot due what is a verb how is electricity made
when is half term what is 4g how is oil formed
when is the next full moon what is instagram how is the world going to end
When J… What J… How J…
when johnny comes marching home what job is right for me how j say
when jimmy met louis what job should i do how jet engines work
when jesus is my portion what job is right for me uk how joyful bear
when jessie came across the sea what job would suit me how jailbreak iphone 4
when johnny comes marching home lyrics what jobs can you get at 13 how jaws should have ended
when jesus was born what jobs can you get at 15 how jennifer hudson lost weight
when james met robbie what job can i do how julius caesar died
when jelly bean galaxy s2 what job is right for me quiz uk how jump start car
when jesus is my portion lyrics what job would i be good at how john lennon died
when joining a motorway you should what jobs can you get at 14 how jews pray
When K… What K… How K…
when keeping it real goes wrong what katie did how kindle works
when kalin twins what kate wore how kidneys work
when karl met warwick what katie ate how kapow
when kids kill what killed the dinosaurs how kers works
when knights were bold what kind of person am i how kelly osbourne lost weight
when kindle paperwhite in uk what katie does how kids can make money
when kiran met karen what katie did next how kinect works
when kids get life what kindle should i buy how kevlar is made
when kiwis fly what kind of learner am i how kites fly
when kids start talking what katie wore how kinky are you quiz
When L… What L… How L…
when louis met jimmy what laptop how long is skyfall
when love takes over what lies beneath how long does it take to get to the moon
when life gives you lemons what laptop should i buy how long till christmas
when love takes over lyrics what language is this how long do cats live
when louis met what language is spoken in belgium how long does a cold last
when louis met jimmy savile what language is gangnam style how long to roast a chicken
when love walked in what laptop to buy how long to boil an egg
when love and hate collide what language did jesus speak how long to cook a chicken
when louis met the hamiltons what language is spoken in brazil how long does flu last
when love takes over chords what lies below how long do rabbits live
When M… What M… How M…
when my little girl is smiling what makes you beautiful how much is my car worth
when my little girl is smiling lyrics what makes you beautiful lyrics how many calories in a banana
when most fertile what makes a good leader how many days until christmas
when mac met cheese what mountain bike how much is my house worth
when money dies what makes you beautiful chords how many calories in an egg
when mot due what movie should i watch how many left
when morning sickness starts what mobile how much is a first class stamp
when my baby due what motivates you how many days until
when my baby what mortgage can i get how much is child benefit
when my mot due what makes a good teacher how many calories in an apple
When N… What N… How N…
when night is falling what not antiques how not to live your life
when nature calls what not to eat when pregnant how now brown cow
when nietzsche wept what now lyrics rihanna how nuclear power works
when new imac what names mean how not to worry
when nexus 4
back in stock
what nationality is rita ora how not to be boring
when not to have flu jab what not to wear how not to be jealous
when neil armstrong dies what noise does a giraffe make how not to cry
when needs must what network is ee how not to get pregnant
when next full moon what number is this how networks communicate
when new ipad what noise does a zebra make how not to write a novel
When O… What O… How O…
when objects work what on tv how old am i
when ovulate what on tv tonight how old is jerry hall
when one door closes what olivia did how old are union j
when off peak train times what on in london how old are ant and dec
when oil runs out what oil for my car how old is the earth
when our time comes what oil do i need how old is conor maynard
when overtaking at night you should what organs can be transplanted how old is daniel craig
when october goes what on earth how often should you poop
when ovulate after miscarriage what organs can be donated how old is tulisa
when o2 4g what or which how old is nigella lawson
When P… What P… How P…
when peace like a river what pc how pregnant am i
when penguins attack what phone should i get how popular is my name
when pigs fly level 12 what pad how paper is made
when paddy met sally what pokemon are you how paypal works
when parents text what phone how plastic is made
when pigs have wings what price glory how planning
when penguins attack 3 what printer how powerful is the wii u
when pigs fly level 18 what percentage is tax how plants grow
when push comes to shove what pumpkin how painful is labour
when penguins attack 4 what phones have 4g how paracetamol works
When Q… What Q… How Q…
when queen victoria was born what qualifications do i need to be a nurse how quickly does hair grow
when queen victoria died what questions to ask a girl how quickly do antibiotics work
when queen victoria became queen what qualifications do i need to be an architect how quickly can i get a passport
when questions what questions to ask siri how quickly can you fall in love
when quoting in an essay what qualifications do i need to be a lawyer how qr codes work
when queen victoria born what qualifications are needed to be a doctor how quick is 4g
when questioned caution what questions do i ask at an interview how quick is my internet
when queen victoria was born and died what qualifications do i need to be a pilot how quickly can you lose a stone
when queen elizabeth died what questions are asked in a telephone interview how quickly do mice breed
when qualifications fail what questions to ask on a first date how quick is my broadband
When R… What R… How R…
when robbie met james what richard did how rich is the queen
when r u most fertile what rhymes with how rich is bill gates
when rabbit howls what records how rich am i
when ronan met burt what rating is skyfall how rich is simon cowell
when romeo met juliet what really happened how real is made in chelsea
when relationships fail what rhymes with orange how rich is jk rowling
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How to Repeat what Cambridge Analytica Did

Lots of the newspaper articles about Cambridge Analytica speak as if what they (apparently) did was extremely advanced. Many also speak about it as if it’s unrepeatable.

It was not extremely advanced. And it is repeatable.

  • Advanced? Most of the things they apparently did were standard marketing tactics stretched in an unethical way.
  • Repeatable? In order to repeat what they did: All you would need is money, knowledge, & some moderate data skill (moderate may be read as ‘talented year 1 university computer science’ level; more is better, but with the right knowledge & setup, what they did doesn’t seem to be a task of extreme skill).

Below is an example detailing at a high level how someone could repeat what they did today.

Important caveats:

  • This doesn’t take into account legality, though all of the tools mentioned are widely available (+data laws change frequently).
  • This doesn’t take into account ethics. Some of those who’ve come forward from Cambridge Analytica have essentially said “I was just doing my job” – I think if you are working to alter people’s behaviour, you should be ethically aligned with what you’re doing (or at least not fully opposed).
  • It’s important also to note that Cambridge Analytica say they did nothing wrong, and that the data they used was gathered legitimately. That may well be the case: It would not be hard to do what they appear to have done by gathering the data legitimately, just more costly.

I’ve split this into 3 parts: ‘The Data’, ‘Taking Action’, ‘Summary’.

Section A: The Data

Data Step 1. Gather Personality Type Data

One of Cambridge Analytica’s big ‘Unique Selling Point’ claims was that they used ‘Psychographic Targeting’ to influence potential voters. This has a fancy name, but is a fairly simple principle, and is used within some mainstream marketing activity (mainly mass advertising, or data work designed to understand user behaviour).

Psychographic Targeting basically means categorising users into different personality types, and presenting them with different information or different ads designed to appeal to the flaws/nuances of their personality in order to push them toward carrying out particular behaviours. In the case of Cambridge Analytica, they say they did this either to urge users to vote, to move users toward ‘advocacy’ (pushing others to vote), or to suppress the likelihood of some voting for an opponent.

We know Cambridge Analytica claimed Psychographic Targeting as a big part of what they did, as the CEO (Alexander Nix) liked to do presentations telling people they did:


In part, this may be sales pitch: Anyone who has worked with high-spend media agencies knows they occasionally embelish the truth a little saying they’re using advanced techniques. Here though it looks like they did carry out some of this activity:

Below a slide where you can see him showing data including what’s referred to as ‘Big Five Inventory’. That means targets categorised by the ‘Big 5’ personality traits: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extraversion, Agreeableness, Neuroticism (‘OCEAN’).

(snipped from:

Whether or not you believe this stuff works to the extent they say it did aside: This is probably the hardest element in replicating what Cambridge Analytica did, as it requires a big base of personality data. That’s essentially what they (Cambridge Analytica) & Facebook are in trouble for: The claim is that they used dodgy methods to acquire that personality data, and did not delete that data when Facebook asked them to.

Gathering a Pool of Personality Data

There are many ways to gather personality type data. If you wanted to replicate what Cambridge Analytica did, and you had the money, you could simply buy up a legitimate source of personality data.

There are many companies that collect this kind of thing. Some are very small operations sitting on lots of data, and therefore likely to be ‘cheap’ to acquire. Here’s one example, who use ads on The Guardian and many other publications to bring new customers to their IQ and general Personality Tests:

(Ironically the above is from a Guardian article on Cambridge Analytica)

To get an idea of the amount of data those people hold, below are some rough monthly estimates of the traffic for the site listed in the ad there (the stats below are gathered from another tool that monitors’ users behaviour – SimilarWeb – who buy up data on millions of web users’ habits):

From either creating a set of personality data yourself, or acquiring it via a third party source (either buying from a company that has it or buying a company outright that has that type of data) you could be then fairly simply categorise users within that data, allowing you to A) test the effectiveness of ads by personality type, B) use that data & that feedback loop to tailor messages for other channels.

Personality Data Summary: It should be quite straightforward to buy a big source of personality data. If you need to grow one from scratch, you can still do that legitimately using ads to send people to personality tests (ironically, The Guardian host lots of those ads at present).

Data Step 2. Add to your Personality pool with a broader data set.

Your pool of personality type data could be used to segment some users. An extra claim re Cambridge Analytica is that they also linked this to a wider set of data (In their case: all the Facebook contacts of users who took personality tests). They appear to have had various information on those users – age, gender, location, relationship to other users within their pool, and more.

2.1: Buying a set of data.

You could replicate that, but Facebook have tightened up their controls since. The data could, however, be gathered in different ways: There are many vendors of Email Data. Sometimes this data comes with the permission to email users, sometimes it does not. Sometimes it comes with many of the above attributes (age, gender, location, etc).

Summary: Many companies sell data on US / UK / citizens of other countries.

2.2: Adding to that set of data.

There are also many, many services who allow you to ‘augment’ email data. Some of these simply provide age, gender, whether the email address is active or not. Some provide much more in depth categorisation. Here are 3 examples who provide much more:

  • FullContact lets you supply a list of email addresses & returns with details from their accessible social media profiles (including profiling of bands, books, topics users have mentioned, etc).
  • Clearbit does something very similar, collecting ‘data from over 150 sources in real time’.
  • Pipl is another tool, with data on over 3,163,959,452 people, allowing you to gather details of their social media profiles, job information, and more.

Here’s a snapshot of some of the data available from FullContact, provided matched against a list of email addresses you provide to their system:

Using some of the above sources, it may also be possible to carry out the ‘social graph’ analysis that Cambridge Analytica’s set of data appears to have allowed them (ie, which users are connected to which others; which are of particular influence, etc).

2.3: Further data sources.

Each of the above are quite legitimate data sources (albeit having ‘permission’ to contact them relies on that having already been granted & documented somewhere). Alongside each of the above, there are many less legitimate sources of data available. Two examples of this type of data :

  • Data gathered by browser plugins. Many users don’t realise, but the plugins you add to web browsers can often record which sites you visit, when you visit them, other activity in the browser (text you put into some forms, etc).
  • Data gathered by mobile apps. For example: Those ‘Free Flashlight’ apps on your phone? How do you think they make money? Some mobile apps record what you do on your phone, which other apps you use, where you go, which websites you visit, your contacts, and more.

Each of the above could be used 

There are many other sources of data like this, from big credit reference agencies, to small operations who buy up email data.

Data Step 3. Link any data you’ve sourced with data gathered directly yourself

Every political campaign gathers their own data, and uses this to understand which voters to target as ‘voters’, which as ‘advocates’ (ie. those who will push others to vote – sometimes creating lists of those people individually so that campaigners can ring round on the day to ensure everyone’s voted), some may also identify opposition voters to attempt to ‘suppress’.

The official UK Brexit campaign built a system like this called ‘VICS’ the ‘Voter Intention Collection System’. Many use off-the-shelf tools.

One such off-the-shelf tool is ‘Nation Builder’ – which allows anyone with money to build up big databases of their own supporters. Nation Builder has been used by almost every political organisation you can think of (plus charities and others). It was used by the UK ‘Remain’ Brexit campaign, as well as by UKIP (the UK Independence Party). It was used by Donald Trump and it was used by Bernie Sanders. It was used by Ted Cruz, even though it was created by a former John Kerry aid. It’s used by the Conservative Party in the UK, and also used by the Labour Party and their loosely affiliated  ‘Momentum’

You will recognise the pattern: A web page asks you to support a candidate. It usually gathers one or two small pieces of information (your postal code, whether you’re registered to vote, etc). From there, you receive regular emails asking for donations, you’re organised into a community of others where you may be asked to organise grassroots events, you may be encouraged to share particular messages on social media, you may be given little surveys that basically look like quizzes, but are intended to figure out which issues can be used to increase the likelihood of you voting for a candidate, or promoting a candidate, or – on the reverse – which issues could be used to prevent you from voting for the opposition.

Here’s how they explain what they do:

And here’s how they build profiles of supporters, also offering some matching up with social profiles:

So there we have 3 pools of data, which we’ve joined together:

  1. A base of personality type data, which we can use to target particular types of ads/stories.
  2. A whole heap of behavioural data, showing which websites people visit, what they talk about on social media, etc.
  3. A lot of data we’ve gathered ourselves, all organised neatly in a way that allows us to identify supporters / advocates, gather donations, and push users to action.

Section B: Taking Action

We’ve discussed the data side of things; the other area Cambridge Analytica carried out services is in taking action on the basis of that data.

The actual actions Cambridge Analytica say they took, according to leaked presentations, is fairly basic. The data, and a process around adding to the data & understanding the current status of users, is the key part.

ere are 3 slides released by The Guardian, explaining what they did.

Action Tactic 1: Segmented / 1:1 targeting via email, social media.

The above is essentially action based around the elements we’ve spoken about so far:

  1. Grow a large pool of data.
  2. Create ads (& other ‘content’) to target to particular groups or individuals within that pool. Show them those ads/pieces of content via Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Snapchat, email, and also use for TV ads & messaging.
  3. Run polling to understand the current status of each user, or each segment (intent to vote, direction of vote, whether they’ve encouraged others/would encourage others, etc).
  4. Monitor the data.
  5. Understand whether you’re on target/off target with particular groups or particular regions, allowing you to prioritise.
  6. Alter ads/content on the basis of points 3, 4, 5 above.

That’s most of the 1:1 work, covered by social channels & email.

Action Tactic 2: Bigger Media Buys for Direct Action

Here Cambridge Analytica say they placed ‘broader’ media buys. This is the type of activity that any very large consumer-facing campaign would carry out – buying mass ads to display to hundreds or millions of users. In their case, they say they targeted these in 3 ways:

  1. They based the messaging on elements they’d already measured as being successful within their more targeted advertising.
  2. They’d segmented these by location.
  3. They placed these on key outlets, where they knew they had a chance to affect behaviour, and placed them at crucial moments.

All three of the above are extremely straightforward if you’ve monitored your data closely through a campaign.

In terms of ‘crucial moments’: You can see the date on the above examples was election day itself: Ie, after all of the testing of ads prior, they ran a big push on election day itself. Everyone working in digital marketing will be familiar with the fact that the bulk of results for ‘direct response’ techniques (email, direct message campaigns, direct response ads) are immediately at the point that the money is spent, or the emails are sent. The ‘brand’ work to create users with the potential to act happens before that, the direct response activity is designed to have an impact at the point it goes live.

The above examples are also similar to the technique chosen by the official UK ‘Vote Leave’ Brexit campaign, who chose to spend large amounts of their media budget right at the end. 



Action Tactic 3: Search Advertising

This is such a minor, simple detail compared to the other elements above, but Cambridge Analytica thought it worth setting out separately and showing off in presentations. That may be because it’s such a broad, simple tactic that it would appeal to any potential client without much awareness of digital advertising, or it may be that they actually felt it to be advanced.

Alongside all of the other tactics, they also explain they did something rather basic: Placed ads within Google search results, against particular terms users may search for. Here’s an example from their presentation:

There are 3 ads there, that cover different elements of potential ‘voter journeys’:

  • Ad 1: An ad that’s targeted at users searching for a particular factual topic. This is interesting in it positions him as opposing the Iraq war: Presumably that came back as a positive among the polling they did.
  • Ad 2: A particularly negative ad re Hillary, related to a particular factual search. (user intent: which candidate am I aligned with re trade?)
  • Ad 3: A positive ad re Donald Trump.

Each of the ads pointed to pages that set forward information, and also attempted to gather donations / email opt ins. This is vaguely interesting, but is particularly basic marketing that anyone working on a campaign with a decent amount of money would likely cover.

Overall Summary

What Cambridge Analytica appear to have done was not particularly advanced. It simply required money, people to carry out, and (it appears) the willingness of some to ignore their ‘ethical misalignments’ with the campaign.

All of the actual data/marketing techniques carried out were relatively straightforward, known tactics.

It’s no longer so easy to gather the data they did from the source they took it from, but there are plenty of other possibilities for gathering similar data sets – whether gathered directly in its entirety, partly gathered directly with additional data added to it from other sources, or bought in from either a fully legitimate source or a less legitimate source.

EU Referendum Poll: December 2017

Below is the results of a nationwide survey of 1,000 people carried out in December 2017. Results are weighted to match the UK internet population.

This asks the official UK EU Referendum question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”.


  • Remain: 45.1%
  • Leave: 30.6%
  • Undecided: 24.3%

The distance between ‘Remain’ & ‘Leave’ of 14.55% points is the highest in all polls I’ve carried out since the referendum.

Immediately post referendum, a large shift seemed to take place between the ‘Undecided’ group and ‘Leave’. This poll contains the largest indicator so far of any shift from ‘Leave’ to ‘Remain’.


Having carried out around 30 such polls (each of which covers the UK, and is weighted by age and gender to match UK population), I looked back to take a look at the data for the year since the EU Referendum, followed by the most recent survey.

As can be seen by the final column, the ‘Remain-Leave Gap’ (the difference between the % answering ‘Remain’ and % answering ‘Leave’) is the highest it has been since the referendum date. ‘Undecided’ remains fairly stable, while ‘Leave’ is down and ‘Remain’ is up.

Notes & Caveats:

  • The question here was as per the official question, it does not ask “If there were another referendum today…” or attempt to judge how people would vote, it is instead a snapshot of opinion.
  • No attempt is made to gather whether users are eligible to vote, or were eligible to vote at the point of the referendum.
  • Weighting is vs the UK internet population, which sways slightly younger than overall population.
  • Data is gathered via the internet, fieldwork was carried out between 19-22 Dec 2017.




Fake Facebook News

There have been lots of articles over the last week or so talking about “fake news” on Facebook, many revolving around the US election.

The ‘poster child’ of Facebook Fake News is this post: “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead…“. It appeared a few days before the US presidential election, and was shared a phenomenal number of times (567,752 according to Facebook’s API). It turned out the “Denver Guardian” does not actually exist – the site is just a shell set up to spread fake news, registered under an anonymous domain owner.

Here’s a quote from an article debunking it:

Interesting, eh? So the fake Denver Guardian article was “several orders of magnitude more popular a story than anything any major city paper publishes on a daily basis”. And here’s a graph from that article, backing that up:

Quite a compelling chart. From that graph it looks like that Denver Guardian article is way way way more popular than anything the Boston Globe, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, and others have ever posted. Here you can see that debunking article shared on Twitter – Benedict Evans of the famous VC firm Andreessen Horowitz is retweeing it here, on an original tweet from Jay Rosen, who’s a Professor of Journalism at NYU:

408 retweets – I bet quite a few people read that post . Except… if you read into the detail properly, and check the actual data… that graph is not representative either. Here is why:

  • The author of the article just picked a single post, listed as ‘top story’, from each of the publications listed above, on a single day. If he’d picked a day earlier at a different time, he’d have found much more popular articles; if he’d picked a day later he may have too.
  • That line about “this article from a fake local paper was shared one thousand times more than material from real local papers” – strictly speaking that’s true, because “material” could mean any article. But it provides a false impression.

I spent a few minutes looking for the actual most shared posts on each of the above listed websites to remake the graph taking the actual ‘most shared’ posts. I went back to the start of September 2016. Here’s how the amended graph looks:

The “Denver Guardian” post is still very high there, but it’s not “several orders of magnitude more popular a story than anything any major city paper publishes on a daily basis”.

In other words: An article debunking fake news on Facebook actually gives a very false impression of reality itself. It was compelling enough that an NYU professor shared it, & several hundred people retweeted that. The article has itself been shared more than 1,500 times on Facebook.

The author was told that the article was wrong. He quietly updated some of it, and added an explicit update note to the end later on, but most of the elements in the post are left as-is. It still says the Denver Guardian’s article is “several orders of magnitude more popular a story than anything any major city paper publishes on a daily basis”, and the graph remains in tact. The NYU professor was told too, but left the RT as-is. Both probably did all of this with good intent, but the result is some who read it may take it at face value, and believe the problem to be “several orders of magnitude” greater than it likely is.


  • Yes, there is fake information on Facebook. Some of it is deliberate; some of it is due to simple incompetence.
  • If you pick the most shared ‘fake news’ article of all time on Facebook, and compare it against some moderately shared posts from reputable news outlets, the outcome is that the problem looks much greater than it may be.
  • Sometimes very reputable people accidentally share false information; sometimes they leave it there even after it’s noted as being not quite right.
  • Fake news is still a problem. If you wanted, you could probably cheat the stock market, or nudge one or two votes in an election, by timing & pushing a piece of fake news at the right time. And, realistically, there are plenty of avenues Facebook could explore to limit the effectiveness of ‘fake news’.

Take what you read with a pinch of salt and, where you have a few moments spare, do a little of your own research to double check its validity. If it does not “pass the smell test”, maybe wait before hitting RT. But don’t overreact to the problem… it’s extremely unlikely that this fake news is “several orders of magnitude more popular a story than anything any major city paper publishes on a daily basis”.

EU Referendum: Current Opinion Update

This post simply includes 2 pieces of information: Answers to the question “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?” from the weekend immediately prior to the referendum, and answers to the same question, surveyed on 23rd August 2016 (ie. exactly 2 months after the referendum).

Responses to a survey on “the Brexit Question” immediately prior to the vote:

(data here is from 2,008 responses, weighted on the basis of demographic information from 1,485 respondents. All were in the UK, but were not qualified on eligibility to vote, 犀利士
or on whether they intended to vote)

Responses to a survey on “the Brexit Question” exactly 2 months after the vote:

(data here is from 1,002 responses, weighted on the basis of demographic information from 763 respondents. All were in the UK, but were not qualified on eligibility to vote, or on whether they had/had not voted)


A summary of the change in the above numbers is as follows:

  • Immediately prior to the referendum, the survey indicated a likely ‘Remain’ vote. As you can see from the error percentages, a “Leave” vote was within the margin of error. (ie, the poll was inconclusive)
  • 2 months following the referendum, the ‘Remain’ percentage has grown significantly; the ‘Leave’ percentage has grown by a smaller amount (but has still grown), and the ‘Undecided’ percentage has dropped by over 10 percentage points, with roughly 80% of that ‘undecided’ pool going to ‘Remain’, and roughly 20% going to ‘Leave’. The error bars no longer overlap (ie, the respondents to the poll were, overall, in favour of remaining)


  • As always, this is simply a snapshot poll, not an actual vote with real-world ramifications.
  • The 2 pools polled are not identical (ie. the survey respondents are not the same people)
  • None of the above is qualified by actual intention to vote, or whether the respondents voted or not.

Many more caveats apply. If you would like me to go into further detail on those, please do let me know.

(For full clarity: I do this purely out of interest, and fund it myself).


What Would The EU Referendum Result Be If The Vote Was Today?

“What would happen if you reran the UK’s “in/out” EU Referendum today, having seen the news headlines immediately following the announcement of the result?”

I am sure many have asked the question. As you will surely know: It is not possible to answer with anything even approaching a rough degree of certainty. However, I have been running opinion polls on the Brexit question for the last year, and have carried out 3 across June (2x before, 1x after announcement of the result). While opinion polls are far from perfect, they do still help in understanding rough trends.

Below are the results of an opinion poll carried out immediately prior to the Brexit vote; followed by a poll carried out over the days immediately after.

First is a straight ‘Before & After’ comparison of the 2 polls. Below that is a little greater detail on each of the polls. Additionally, there is data gathered over the last year on ‘the Brexit’ question, to add further context to the results.

Note of Caution: I am not publishing this to suggest that there should be another referendum. I am simply publishing as I have been tracking this for the last year, and found the massive change in results very interesting.

Before & After

Below is a comparison of an opinion poll carried out over the weekend prior to the ‘Brexit’ vote, compared to the same poll carried out over the week following the announcement of results:

Summary: The poll results show a big shift from the ‘Undecided’ group to the ‘Remain’ group. The size of the ‘Leave’ group changes, but only by 4-5% points.

Each poll here was anonymous, carried out among adults in the UK, via the internet. There were 2,018 responses gathered in the ‘before’ poll. There were & 1,092 responses to the ‘after’ poll. The data is weighted based on the internet population of the UK, and that weighting is based on demographic data from 1,485 respondents in the ‘before’ poll, and 829 respondents in the ‘after’ poll.

More Detail: Result Immediately Prior to the Vote

Here were the results of the poll, carried out over the weekend immediately prior to the referendum, including additional notes:


  1. The ‘undecided’ group is quite high. This was a UK-wide poll, with no filter question clarifying whether respondents were registered to vote. Ie, it is representative of adults in the UK, not just voters.
  2. Importantly: ‘Remain’ polled at 37.2%, the ‘Leave’ answer polled at 32.5%. You can see from the bars that each had a margin of error of +2.6/-2.5. Ie, the ‘Remain’ result was predicted between 34.7 and 39.8; the ‘Leave’ result predicted between 30.0% and 35.1%. Ie – according to the snapshot poll – ‘Remain’ would probably win, but there was a chance ‘Leave’ would prevail.

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More Detail: Result Immediately After the Vote Result

Here is the same poll, carried out in the days immediately after the vote was announced, and newspaper headlines and politicians across the world reacted. The data here was gathered between 24th-29th June 2016. Again, I have included additional notes:

3 notes there:

  1. ‘Remain’ has leapt enormously.
  2. ‘Leave’ has dropped, but only by 4 or 5 percentage points.
  3. The ‘undecided’ group has dropped hugely – from 30% to 15%.

Based purely on this poll, those believing the UK should remain a member of the EU outnumbered those who believe we should leave the EU by a margin of 2:1 after the referendum result was announced & newspaper headlines and politicians had responded to the result.

More Detail: Data Gathered over the Last Year:

Below is a summary of most of the Brexit polls I have carried out over the last year, to add context, and further illustrate the large change in results. Most were carried out 犀利士
among just over 2,000 respondents; one or two were carried out with just over 1,000 respondents. The early polls I chose to omit the ‘Undecided’ group. The referendum question changed late last year, from a ‘Yes/No’ question to ‘Remain/Leave’.


  • Among these polls, there is a large swing from ‘Undecided’ to ‘Remain’ following the announcement of the results.
  • The ‘Leave’ group has dropped, but had polled at similar levels previously.
  • The ‘Undecided’ group has dropped significantly.

Important Caveats

Above are simply opinion polls. As we all know, opinion polls do not necessarily predict the actual result of elections or referendums, they simply offer a snapshot of opinion among a group of respondents. The respondents above were in the UK, but not necessarily registered to vote.

EU Referendum Poll

Here is the result of a poll run on a sample of 2,000 UK web users, carried out online between the 18th & 21st June 2016. Demographic data was collected for 1485 of those responses. Below you’ll find:

  1. An overall summary result.
  2. Results excluding ‘undecided’ voters.
  3. Split by age.
  4. Split by gender.

Data was gathered anonymously, asking the referendum question, and is summarised weighted against the internet population of the UK.

Overall Summary:

  • Excluding ‘Undecided’, 53.4% prefer ‘Remain’ while 46.6% prefer ‘Leave’.
  • Men were slightly more likely to answer ‘Remain’ than women; paradoxically men were also more likely to answer ‘Leave’ than women. Men were much more likely to give an answer one way or the other, whereas a higher percentage of women answered ‘Undecided’.
  • Age is a strong predictor of response. 18-24 year olds were most likely to answer ‘Remain’; 65+ year olds were more likely to answer ‘Leave’.

Weighted Results:

“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

  • Remain: 37.2%
  • Leave: 32.5%
  • Undecided: 30.3%

Results excluding ‘Undecided’

Stripping out the ‘Undecided’ portion, the results are as follows:

  • Remain: 53.4%
  • Leave: 46.6%

‘Split by Age:

The ‘Remain’ group, broken down by age group, is as follows:

The ‘Leave’ group, broken down by age group, is as follows:

Split by Gender:



  • The poll ran & as displayed to a random sample of users within the UK.
  • The question was worded as per the official question.
  • There are lots of caveats with data such as this. It is a ‘snapshot’ rather than a ‘prediction’.
  • I have asked the specific ballot question, rather than framing it as “If you were to vote today…?”.
  • I’ve left error bars on the results so that you can see the variability.
  • I included a series of caveats & additional notes on a previous similar poll I ran. You can read those in the ‘caveats’ section of this post.
  • For full clarity, here is the breakdown of respondents, and their bias vs the general ‘Internet Population’ of Scotland



BBC Recipes – A Possible Explanation

The BBC are apparently removing thousands of recipes from their website. This has been announced, slightly clumsily, in a leak in early May, and then more officially by the BBC themselves.

This blog post takes a look at what happened, and ends by looking at the possible motivations that may have caused the BBC to communicate their plans in such an apparently clumsy way.

Phases of the announcement

There were 4 phases in the announcement that ‘BBC Food’ was going to be closed:

  • Phase 1: A leak in early May that this was planned.
  • Phase 2: The BBC announcing officially that they’ll be closing the ‘BBC Food’ site.
  • Phase 3: A partial caveat, that the site will be ‘archived’ or ‘mothballed’.
  • Phase 4: A very large caveat, that many of the recipes will move across to ‘BBC Good Food’.

The original story (phases 1 & 2) explained that this was happening to ‘streamline output’ and ‘save £15m’.

That didn’t really make sense, as it costs relatively little to keep pre-existing content on a website and, naturally, people became quite angry about this. The BBC is funded by taxpayers, and license fee payers, who asked why the content they’d funded was being removed.


After lots of anger about the closing of ‘BBC Food’, they put out a clarification (‘phase 3’) above. Here’s how that was communicated by their Press Office on Twitter:

You’ll note the words ‘archived’ and ‘mothballed’ in there. Neither of those sound particularly friendly to the general public. The announcement was designed (presumably) to quell the anger of all those asking why it was being closed. By using internal jargon, it cleared up very little & simply prompted more anger & questions.

Looking at what the BBC normally do when they ‘mothball’ something, this probably would not mean that they would hide all of the recipes from Google search. It also likely does not mean they’d stick around for a short time before being deleted (there is BBC content many years old still sat there ‘mothballed’). It more likely means that the content would be excluded from the BBC’s own website search function, and that a ‘This page has been archived’ header would be tacked onto the pages:

There are exceptions to this – for example, when closing ‘’, they removed the entire site & redirected users across to its replacement but, in general, they do the above: Add an ‘archive’ tag, leave it available in Google search, remove it from their own search results, and leave it to sit there accessible by the public if they try hard to find it.

The Final Clarification

Despite their ‘archiving’ announcement, people continued to be angry, and a petition to ‘save’ the site hit more than 100,000 signatures. In response, the BBC clarified still further:

The Possible Motivation

The obvious question is: Why didn’t they put out a straightforward announcement in the beginning. Surely they would have seen that “We’re moving most of the content from one of our sites to another” would prompt less backlash from their users than “we’re shutting down”.

It’s possible that what’s happening is this:

  1. The ‘BBC Food’ section of the overall BBC site competes with ‘BBC Good Food’, which is a completely separate website.
  2. ‘BBC Good Food’ is part of BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC which is charged with maximising profit inn order to help fund the overall BBC. BBC Worldwide is a £1bn+ company, which generated just under £140m profit last year, and passed £226m across to the parent organisation (ie. theoretically keeping the license fee down).
  3. If the BBC close ‘BBC Food’, and migrate the most valuable content across to ‘BBC Good Food’, this increases the likelihood of them making profit.

So why did the BBC simply announce that they were closing ‘BBC Food’, without explaining that they’d be moving content across to ‘BBC Good Food’?

  • Option A: It’s possible this was simply an accident – a clumsily worded announcement.
  • Option B: It’s also possible that they do not quite know what’s going on themselves – they recognise they have 2 areas covering the same thing, and that the most obvious one to close is the taxpayer funded one, but they haven’t fully planned things out.
  • Option C: Most likely, I think, is that part of the messaging around the whole announcement was that they are closing to avoid competing directly with commercial organisations. If they had announced at the beginning that they’d be shifting taxpayer funded content across to their own commercial organisation, that puts a very negative spin on things, and would likely raise some complaints from commercial competitors.


  • It’s likely BBC Food will stay around for a little while, with an ‘archive’ note at the top of pages.
  • Likely, longer-term, they will shift most/all of the content (or at least the most valuable, heavily accessed content) across to BBC Good Food.
  • In shifting that content, they are essentially moving ‘non-profit making’ content across to an area that’s very happy to make profit (in fact it is its primary motive). And, of course they also remove their own ‘regular’ site from competing against their commercial site.
  • All of the fuss among the general public could likely have been avoided by communicating this differently, but in doing so they’d likely have stoked a lot of anger among other newspapers, publishers, and other commercial organisations.

Twitter and Google are naming people they should not

Twitter and Google regularly do something that – if you or I did it – would be breaking the law. They reveal the identities of people who courts have decided should not be named. If newspapers and members of the general public name them, there are very serious repercussions. Yet Google & Twitter’s algorithms seem free to do this.

Today they are doing it again, in relation to the killers of a 39 year old woman.

One of the saddest legal cases you may ever read is that of Angela Wrightson. She was killed by two teenagers – 13 and 14 at the time – who inflicted more than 100 injuries on her. Today a judge sentenced them both to life in prison, serving a minimum of 15 years. The full, shocking, detail is here:

In considering whether Angela’s killers should remain anonymous, or whether newspapers, news media, and the general public should be allowed to reveal their identities, the judge said many things, including that it is likely to pose a great danger to them:

The judges summary was this:

I suspect some of us would agree with the above, and some would argue that they are murderers, and have brought it upon themselves. Either way, however strong they are, your feelings & my feelings are irrelevant: a judge has decided that there is a ‘real and present danger’ to these two girls, references suicide attempts, and therefore summarises that they must remain anonymous.

Yet, clicking on the victim’s name on Twitter, which has trended for much of the day, reveals 2 girls’ names:

Angela’s name trended across the UK. In other words, if you have used Twitter today, you were a single click away from seeing the names of two people who a judge had deemed should not be named.

And, as I have written about before, Google does a very similar thing, at the foot of search results:

This happens automatically, because both Google & Twitter have algorithms that associate related searches to each other. In other words, the algorithms are breaking the law.

I have written about this several times over the last few years:

  • Twitter & Google both showed photographs of one of James Bulger’s killers, when searching for broadly related terms:
  • The footballer Adam Johnson’s 15 year old victim was named
  • In recent days, a very high profile celebrity was named by Twitter’s algorithm, when searching for the initials he had been given by the UK courts to conceal his identity.
  • And, again, it is happening today.

It is not right that this should happen. It is dangerous both in cases like this – for the killers, for their friends, and those associated with them – and it is most definitely not right in examples where victims are named.