During an afternoon meeting in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon, President Donald Trump stressed that Twitter, Google and Facebook were all social media platforms that are “treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful. It’s not fair to large portions of the population.”
“Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people and I think that’s a very serious thing and it’s a very serious charge,” Trump told reporters after a meeting with the president of FIFA. “They better be careful because they can’t do that to people.”
Earlier on Tuesday, Trump tweeted that Google had “rigged” several search results to try and suppress conservative voices as well as swaying public opinion on himself and his administration by keeping negative articles on the top of the search results.
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
Trump continued in a follow up tweet, “….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
In a written statement, spokesman for Google said:
“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 wrote. “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.”
With Google’s ties to not only the Obama administration, but to Democratic candidate for president, Hillary Clinton, most conservatives have been aware of the bias for quite a long time.
On Wednesday, one of Trump’s top economic advisers defended the White House looking into regulating Google, but wasn’t clear how it would be achieved.
“Well, first, there are independent agencies that look into this all the time,” said chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, Kevin Hassett, during an interview on Fox Business Network. “And it’s our job at the White House, really, to be looking at the 21st century economy, not the 20th century economy, right? Like, so we can’t be just really good at buggy whips, we’ve got to think about what’s going on right now.”
Hassett went on to say that Internet search engines, like Google’s are “a really, really interesting thing because they have these search algorithms, basically care more if somebody important links to a page than if somebody unimportant links to a page.”
On Fox’s “Mornings with Maria” show, Hassett asked the question of where government’s place is in regulating social media giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google. “And the question is, that in a 21st century economy, you know, what is the right of the American government in this space? What should we be looking at? And I think that it’s right for us to think about those things,” Hassett said.
Comments from Hassett came one day after the president’s top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters that the administration would be “taking a look” at regulating Google.
In a statement issued by Google on Tuesday, they claimed that their search engine is not designed to promote any particular political ideology, but does try to generate what they call “high-quality content.”
“Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” said Riva Sciuto, a Google spokeswoman. “We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
Facebook’s chief executive Mark Zuckerberg along with CEO of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, have both admitted that their companies have a left-leaning political tilt while at the same time denying there’s any political bias when evaluating content and or accounts on their platforms. Both Zuckerberg and Dorsey have claimed they’re just trying to clean up certain “behaviors of bad faith actors.”
Big League Politics reported that Dorsey, in an interview earlier this month with Sean Hannity stated, “These are models that are looking at behaviors. Behaviors of bad faith actors that intend to manipulate, distract, divide a conversation, or to unfairly amplify their content which they didn’t earn. Those are the signals that factor in. And we do rank search, we do rank trends and we do rank conversations accordingly.”
Google’s chief executive officer Sundar Pichai is refusing to testify at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing next week, but the panel’s chairman doesn’t seem likely to issue a subpoena forcing the CEO to appear.
“I don’t normally subpoena people to be part of the solution,” Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina said Tuesday when asked if he’s considering such a step. “Google chooses not to participate and being part of the solution. That’s a decision they made.”
Google previously said they would be sending Kent Walker, the company’s senior vice president for global affairs, in Pichai’s place. On Tuesday, the company said that Walker, who’s overseeing efforts to tackle foreign interference will be in Washington and available to speak with lawmakers on the day of the hearing. Burr, who had asked Pichai to testify, said on August 23rd, that Walker was not high enough in the company to be able to appear before the committee and tackle tough questions.
Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and the Intelligence pane’s top Democrat said that Google is making a “great mistake” by offering up Walker instead of someone who is sufficiently higher up in the company.
“That’s not the level that we should have,” Warner said.
Senator Angus King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats agreed with Warner, saying that Google and other companies should always send their CEOs.
“This is the United States Senate, this is an important issue, and we deserve to hear from the decision-makers, not the people who carry out the decisions,” King said.
The panel previously held a hearing with lawyers, not the CEOs, for Twitter, Google and Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg did testify at House and Senate committee hearings in April, though not before the Senate Intelligence panel, and more importantly, NEVER UNDER OATH.
With the midterms fast approaching, and with an obvious restriction of conservative content through biased algorithms, one has to wonder how much longer it will be allowed to continue.
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