Trump takes on Google, alleges bias in searches

President Donald Trump arrives for a tour during a "Made in America Product Showcase" at the White House, Monday, July 23, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump lashed out at U.S. tech companies Tuesday, accusing Google and others of suppressing conservative voices and “hiding information” and good news. He cited no evidence for the claim, which echoes both his own attacks on the press and a conservative talking point.

Posted: Aug 28, 2018 2:50 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump lashed out at U.S. tech companies Tuesday, accusing Google and others of suppressing conservative voices and “hiding information” and good news. He cited no evidence for the claim, which echoes both his own attacks on the press and a conservative talking point.

Google, operator of the world’s most popular search engine, responded by saying: “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”

Trump tweeted before dawn: “This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Hours later, Larry Kudlow, the president’s top economic adviser, said the White House is “taking a look” at whether Google searches should be subject to some government regulation.

Trump has made similar complaints before, but he carried it a step further Tuesday.

“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ 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. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?”

He added, without offering evidence, that “96% of results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous.”

A query Tuesday morning several hours after the president tweeted showed stories from CNN, ABC News, Fox News and the MarketWatch business site, among others. A similar search later in the day for “Trump” had Fox News, the president’s favored cable network, among the top results.

Trump tweeted that Google and others “are controlling what we can & cannot see.”

In response, Google said its goal is to make sure users of its search engine get the most relevant answers to their queries quickly.

“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” the Mountain View, California-based company said. “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.”

Google searches aim to surface the most relevant pages in response to a user’s query, even before he or she finishes typing. The answers that appear first are the ones Google’s formulas, with some help from human content reviewers, deem to be the most authoritative, informative and relevant. Many factors help decide the initial results, including how much time people spend on a page, how many other pages link to it, how well it’s designed and more.

A search for “why is the sky blue?” for example, yields initial results from NASA, universities and “Scientific American.”

Similarly, entering “Trump” and clicking the “news” tab will produce results from mainstream media outlets that large swaths of the population tend to trust. That is even though Trump has derided some of these outlets as “fake news.”

Trump and some supporters have long accused Silicon Valley companies of being biased against them. But, while some company executives may lean liberal, they have long asserted that their products are without political bias, and indeed no such bias has been proven.

Trump didn’t say what he based his tweets on. But in a blog post over the weekend, conservative activist Paula Boylard had said she found “blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets” in search results.

Boylard based her judgments on which media outlets were left- or right-leaning on a list by Sharyl Attkisson, host of Sinclair Television’s “Full Measure” and author of “The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, Think, and How You Vote.” Sinclair is a significant outlet for conservative views.

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. The president also argues regularly — and falsely — that the news media avoid writing positive stories about him and his administration.

Apple, YouTube and Spotify have permanently removed some of Jones’ content, Facebook has suspended him for 30 days and removed some of his pages, and 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, who is being sued for saying the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was staged, in any tweets on the issue. Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur and has argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because he was acting as a journalist.

Trump has praised Jones’ “amazing” reputation.

The issue is also of concern on Capitol Hill, where 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.

___

Ortutay reported from New York.

___

Follow Darlene Superville and Barbara Ortutay on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap and http://www.twitter.com/barbaraortutay

Terre Haute
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Robinson
Overcast
47° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 44°
Indianapolis
Overcast
46° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 42°
Rockville
Overcast
41° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 41°
Casey
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 40°
Brazil
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
Marshall
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 45°
Cloudy night with scattered sprinkles
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Sunday Evening Forecast

Image

New named tropical storm

Image

Unreal Nightmare Escapes

Image

Church offers trunk-or-treat

Image

Jeep Junkies Trunk-or-Treat

Image

Riders compete at Griffin Bike Park

Image

College Goal Sunday

Image

Remembering Leeam Pritcher

Image

Bike competition this weekend

Image

Bikes for Tykes Assembly Day

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 374901

Reported Deaths: 9751
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1738175409
DuPage22546607
Lake20485509
Will18179427
Kane16453347
Winnebago10052180
St. Clair7878218
Madison7084154
McHenry6225120
Champaign604829
Unassigned4787270
Peoria448570
McLean410334
Rock Island396090
Sangamon389663
Kankakee336680
Macon296951
Kendall263030
Tazewell259456
LaSalle237863
DeKalb231742
Coles189639
Williamson185759
Adams183819
Boone183025
Clinton173326
Vermilion169710
Jackson152426
Whiteside138725
Knox127216
Randolph124915
Ogle11857
Effingham11594
Marion99119
Grundy9607
Franklin9529
Stephenson9497
Monroe90329
Bureau89517
Jefferson89348
Morgan89024
Henry8427
Christian81129
Macoupin78410
Union78425
McDonough73920
Lee7051
Fayette67422
Douglas6559
Shelby65312
Crawford6446
Livingston62610
Montgomery60916
Woodford59614
Logan5894
Saline5559
Fulton4981
Warren4938
Iroquois48919
Bond4889
Jo Daviess4867
Wayne48112
Jersey47021
Cass46011
Perry43016
Moultrie4084
Carroll40111
Johnson3460
Richland33316
Lawrence3328
Pike3326
Hancock3094
Clark30717
Clay30713
Washington3012
Mason3001
Greene28715
Cumberland2816
White2644
Jasper26110
De Witt2556
Mercer2526
Piatt2440
Pulaski2351
Wabash2205
Ford19112
Menard1821
Massac1542
Edgar15310
Marshall1503
Henderson1280
Alexander1201
Hamilton1172
Brown1070
Edwards1070
Gallatin1062
Scott1020
Schuyler911
Putnam900
Stark853
Calhoun670
Hardin530
Pope421
Out of IL80

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 160454

Reported Deaths: 4118
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion25691791
Lake14023358
St. Joseph9399165
Elkhart9026137
Allen8424230
Hamilton6293114
Vanderburgh601161
Tippecanoe383615
Hendricks3337133
Porter332350
Monroe330338
Johnson3207129
Delaware303474
Clark300763
Vigo268740
Madison244996
LaPorte231760
Cass226922
Warrick199565
Kosciusko193727
Floyd183968
Howard167066
Bartholomew145358
Dubois142726
Marshall142726
Wayne135331
Grant129739
Henry129730
Boone126950
Hancock122344
Noble119135
Jackson116417
Dearborn100028
Morgan97440
Lawrence94037
Gibson91512
Daviess90234
Clinton88916
Shelby87231
LaGrange82115
Knox79510
Harrison78324
Putnam75616
Posey7556
DeKalb74511
Fayette73218
Jasper6435
Miami6425
Steuben6408
Montgomery60422
White59915
Greene55838
Scott53413
Decatur51739
Adams5107
Whitley4696
Ripley4668
Clay4567
Sullivan45214
Wells44211
Starke4328
Wabash4329
Huntington4215
Orange41725
Spencer4046
Washington3843
Franklin37925
Jennings37313
Randolph37210
Fulton3714
Jefferson3455
Pike34018
Perry33314
Carroll33213
Jay3256
Fountain3193
Tipton28023
Vermillion2601
Parke2464
Blackford2313
Newton23011
Rush2254
Owen2101
Martin2010
Crawford1601
Pulaski1602
Brown1463
Ohio1317
Union1120
Benton1090
Switzerland960
Warren891
Unassigned0236