The designation was in a “knowledge panel,” a summary that pops up next to search results, reported Vice News.
Google removed the listing, one week ahead of the state’s primary election, after an inquiry by Vice News.
The listing provoked outrage from Republicans who already have criticized Silicon Valley tech giants for their political bias.
“It is disgraceful that the world’s largest search engine has labeled millions of California Republicans as Nazis,” said Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., the House majority leader.
“This is just the latest incident in a disturbing trend to slander conservatives. These damaging actions must be held to account. The bias has to stop,” said McCarthy, regarded as a possible successor to Speaker Paul Ryan, who is retiring this year.
Vice News said it’s unclear how long Nazism has been listed under the ideology section and whether it got there via “automation, a third-party trickster, or a Google employee gone rogue.”
The newssite explained Google’s “knowledge panels” are automatically populated from a variety of sources, including Wikipedia.
A Google spokesman said in a statement that sometimes people “vandalize public information sources, like Wikipedia, which can impact the information that appears in search.”
“We have systems in place that catch vandalism before it impacts search results, but occasionally errors get through, and that’s what happened here.”
The spokesman insisted the “Nazism” listing was not due to any manual change by any Google employee and that the company does not manipulate search results to favor any political ideology over another.
Vice News noted the California Republican Party kicked out of its convention in May a neo-nazi running for Senate in the state.
Cynthia Bryant, executive director of the California Republican Party, said it’s “libelous, and Wikipedia and Google should take more ownership of what is published on their sites, since both companies just said 5 million Californians support Nazism.”
“It is unfortunate, but is unlikely to affect the election because anyone with common sense knows we don’t support Nazism,” she said.
Republican leaders recently have accused Google, Facebook and other tech giants of censoring conservative voices.
BREAKING: GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy calls out Google bias towards conservatives, after listing ‘Nazism’ as California Republicans ideology. pic.twitter.com/qOPZ0ugANN
— Wired Sources (@WiredSources) May 31, 2018
In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale and Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said they “are alarmed by numerous allegations that Facebook has blocked content from conservative journalists and groups, and Twitter has hidden such content from conservative users’ followers.”
They pointed out that in 2016, former Facebook workers claimed they manipulated the “trending” section to exclude news tailored to conservative users, despite those topics trending on their own.
“A former trending news curator admitted in an interview that nearly all members of the trending news teams identified as liberal – and had the authority to approve topics,” they wrote. “Moreover, some Facebook employees in 2016 reportedly pushed to ban then-candidate Donald Trump’s Facebook posts and label them as hate speech.”
They also noted conservative web personalities “Diamond & Silk” told Congress they were deemed “unsafe to the community,” apparently because of their political views.
Conservative Twitter users, in addition, have accused the company of purging thousands of their followers to stem “fake news” content.
“We recognize that Facebook and Twitter operate in liberal corporate cultures. However, rampant political bias is inappropriate for a widely used public forum,” Parscale and McDaniel said.