Bloomberg Terminal, a platform that offers real-time data and news to financial professionals, had a built-in search shortcut directing users to Mike Bloomberg’s presidential campaign site, at least until the “glitch” was exposed.
The service, that prides itself of being “the most powerful, flexible platform for financial professionals who need real-time data, news, analytics” while “sitting on the desks of 325,000 of the world’s most influential decision makers” has been caught red-handed peddling the presidential campaign of its owner, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Until recently, if a user typed in “Mike” or “Mike Bloomberg” into a search box at the terminal, the first result would have been none other than the billionaire Democratic candidate’s official campaign website, the Financial Times reported in its scoop on Thursday.
Just type in ‘MIKE’ or ‘Mike Bloomberg’ and users are automatically redirected to the campaign site, including a slickly-produced video narrating his journey from “a middle-class kid who had to work his way through college” to a billionaire businessman and politician
— Phil Georgiadis (@Philgeorgiadis) December 5, 2019
None of the other Democratic candidates, or US President Donald Trump, received the same kind of preferential treatment by the service, which normally offers a standardized biography page as the first option in the drop-down menu.
Aside from his brief profile and a couple of tweets, a quick search for Trump’s name has also turned up less conventional results, such as a page that features updates on the betting odds for “whether Trump will be impeached in his first term,” the FT reports.
Confronted over the newly-detected “glitch” with the Terminal, a Bloomberg spokesperson went into a damage control mode, telling FT that the “Mike” shortcut has been embedded into the service since 1997, and was originally created to help the media mogul to promote his autobiography.
However, the function was not scrapped even after the promotion campaign for the book was over, and was used to funnel customers of the service to Bloomberg’s private page, stating his personal and political believes.
The spokesman argued that once the site was converted into Bloomberg’s campaign page, the staff simply forgot about the shortcut.
“We’ve updated that function to go to the bio page just like anyone else. Thanks for pointing out what was clearly an oversight when the site became a campaign site,” the spokesman said.
The report came out shortly after Trump’s campaign blacklisted Bloomberg News from covering their rallies and events, accusing the outlet of overt bias towards their boss.
The ban followed a Bloomberg News editor-in-chief sending out a memo telling employees that the outlet would investigate neither Bloomberg himself, nor his Democratic rivals, while continuing to investigate Trump.
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