Donald Trump's latest conspiracy theory takes on Google

The Republican nominee might prefer Bing or Yahoo for his Hillary Clinton news.

Alfred Ng Senior Reporter / CNET News
Alfred Ng was a senior reporter for CNET News. He was raised in Brooklyn and previously worked on the New York Daily News's social media and breaking news teams.
Alfred Ng
2 min read
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Donald Trump at a rally in Council Bluffs, Iowa, this week.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Donald Trump is again accusing Google of bias against his campaign.

Two days after the first presidential debate between the Republican candidate and his Election 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton, Trump slammed the tech giant, saying negative stories on Clinton weren't showing up in Google search results.

"The Google poll has us leading Hillary Clinton by two points nationwide, and that's despite the fact that Google's search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton. How about that?" Trump said during a rally in Wisconsin on Wednesday.

This marks the second time Trump has charged Google with unfair treatment, and it's yet another incident in which he's seized on technology as an issue. Trump has also called for Apple to start building its products in the US and has supported Ted Cruz's quest to maintain US control over internet domain naming rights.

Trump's campaign did not respond to requests for comment on what "bad news" the candidate was referring to. In the same speech in which Trump accused Google of burying negative stories, he discussed Clinton's "deplorables" remarks, her controversial "superpredators" statement and her email scandal, and he urged his supporters to "follow the money," criticizing her campaign contributors.

But Google has never reranked search results, and it prioritizes the most relevant stories, according to a person familiar with the company's methods.

Indeed, all the stories Trump referenced in his speech appeared within the first five results produced by a Google search.

Google's search works by scraping the web for content, then using algorithms to rank results according to more than 200 factors, including a website's page quality and relevance, according to the company.

Searches spiked during Monday's debate showdown, as users flocked to the search engine to fact-check the candidates. "Trump Iraq war" was searched up to 137 times as much as "Clinton emails" was looked up.

Trump has blamed Google for his troubles in the past, after a SourceFed video in June accused the search engine of manipulating search results in favor of Clinton. Google responded to those previous claims, saying the people making them "simply misunderstand how Autocomplete works."

Google's Autocomplete algorithm, which gives suggested search terms once you've started typing in a query, doesn't populate any negative terms when paired with a person's name, the company explained. That means "Hillary Clinton cri" doesn't autocomplete to "crime," and the same logic would apply to "Donald Trump cri."

The search engine giant has treated the 2016 election as if it were kryptonite. Google's executive chairman, Eric Schmidt, has said the company will remain neutral during the heated 2016 election campaign.