President Trump has a new target: Google.
Trump took to Twitter early on Tuesday morning, suggesting that Google search results for his name are “rigged,” showing only the “viewing/reporting of Fake New[s] Media.”
“In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD,” he wrote. “Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of 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!”
Trump’s figure of “96%” appears to be derived from PJMedia, a conservative media outlet that published a blog over the weekend suggesting that 96% of Google search results for news related to Trump came from liberal media outlets. The author, Paula Boylard, reportedly Googled the term “multiple times using different computers” and then recorded the perceived bias of the outlets of the first 100 results.
Google responded to Trump’s tweet on Tuesday morning, explaining that its goal is to make sure users “receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds.”
“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” it said in a statement. “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.”
While Trump has been a frequent critic of fake news and accused Twitter of “shadow banning” conservative figures, Tuesday’s tweet seemed to introduce the idea of regulating these big tech companies, particularly Google. It remains to be seen how—if at all—he will act on his promise to “address” the perceived bias, but in the meantime, his commentary will serve to bolster many people’s perception of the media as “enemy of the people.”