President Donald Trump promised Tuesday to address what he says is the “very serious situation” of social media companies “suppressing” conservative voices and “hiding information” and good news.
Trump recently has made similar complaints about the issue, which has been making the rounds in conservative media. But on Tuesday he targeted Google.
Responding to Trump, Google says its search is not used to set a political agenda and the results are not biased toward any political ideology.
Google said Tuesday that when users search for content, “our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds.”
The Mountain View, California-based tech company says it makes “hundreds of improvements” to its algorithms every year to ensure “high-quality content” is returned in response to users’ queries.
Adds Google: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
FULL STATEMENT FROM GOOGLE
“When users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,” Google, whose parent company is Alphabet, said in a statement. “Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users’ queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
Asked whether Trump thinks Google should be subject to some regulation, Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, told reporters only that “we’re taking a look. We’ll let you know.”
The president said in a pre-dawn tweet that included a typo that a search for “Trump News” on Google “shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD.”
He added: “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?”
Trump began complaining about the issue earlier this month as social media companies moved to ban right-wing “Infowars” conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms.
Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
Apple, YouTube and Spotify have permanently removed some of Jones’ content, Facebook has suspended him for 30 days and removed some of his pages, while Twitter gave Jones a weeklong timeout and was mulling deeper changes to try to limit the spread of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Trump has not named Jones in any tweets on the issue. He once praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.
The president also claimed on Tuesday without evidence that 96 percent of the “Trump News” search results on Google are from “National Left-Wing Media.” He said this “very serious situation-will be addressed!”
The issue is also of concern on Capitol Hill.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., recently announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify before the panel on Sept. 5 about the platform’s algorithms and content monitoring.
Story by The Associated Press with additional information from Reuters and CGTN.