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Politics

Trump accuses Google of rigging search results and 'taking advantage' of people

Google denies any political bias in its search rankings.

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President Donald Trump says Google is suppressing conservative voices.

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President Donald Trump says Google search results for "Trump News" show only negative coverage about him.

The results present "only the viewing/reporting of Fake New (sic) Media," the president tweeted early Tuesday. He said it's a "very serious situation" that "will be addressed!"

"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 … " he wrote in the first of two tweets at 5:24 a.m. ET.

" ...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!" he continued.

A few hours later, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the administration is "taking a look" at whether Google and its search engine should be regulated by the government, The Washington Post reported.

Asked about his tweets later Tuesday in the Oval Office, Trump doubled down. "I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people," he said. "Google and Twitter and Facebook, they're really treading on very, very troubled territory, and they have to be careful. It's not fair to large portions of the population."

Google denied any political bias in its search rankings.

"Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," said a Google spokesperson in an emailed 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."

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CNN was the top result in a "trump news" search under Google's News tab on Tuesday.

Google/Screenshot by CNET

Trump's tweets come as representatives from Google, Facebook and Twitter are expected to testify before Congress next week over a range of topics, including election meddling, disinformation and data misuse. A number of the biggest internet and social media companies have also drawn flak for the perception that they reflect a liberal bias. During congressional hearings in April, for instance, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg faced questions about whether the social network was curbing conservative points of view, especially as personified by the media personalities Diamond and Silk.

Earlier this month, Trump accused social media companies of "totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices" in a series of tweets after far-right conspiracy theorist and Infowars host Alex Jones was banned from several major tech platforms.

On Friday, Trump expanded on the point, saying that social media companies "are silencing millions of people" and that people must be allowed to "figure out what is real, and what is not, without censorship!"

The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Trump's tweets on Tuesday took a different tone than the president took in July. After the European Commission levied a record $5 billion fine against Google for business practices surrounding its Android mobile operating system, the EU had "taken advantage" of the US, he said. Trump called Google "one of our great companies."

First published Aug. 28, 5:22 a.m. PT.
Updates, 7:30 a.m.: Adds Larry Kudlow comments and Google statement; 9:49 a.m.: Includes more context; 12:49 p.m.: Adds follow-up comments from Trump.

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