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Google Rejects Trump's Accusation of Bias

But White House says it is looking into possibility of some kind of regulation
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 28, 2018 12:34 PM CDT
Google Rejects Trump's Accusation of Bias
President Trump points to supporters after speaking during a rally Aug. 21, 2018, in Charleston, W.Va.   (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(Newser) – President Trump on Tuesday accused Google of suppressing conservative views in search results, and the tech giant has responded. It's just not so, says a company statement sent to Business Insider. "Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," says the statement, which adds that Google is constantly tweaking its algorithms in order to return "high-quality content" when its users search. "We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment." Related coverage:

  • What now? Asked whether the White House feels that some kind of regulation is necessary for Google, economic adviser Larry Kudlow didn't rule out the possibility. "We'll let you know. We're taking a look at it," he told reporters, per Politico.
  • The source: As previously noted, Trump's accusatory tweets echoed a post at the conservative PJ Media blog. Read it here. The site conducted its own unscientific experiment and concluded that 96% of results for "Trump" news come from "left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets." Examples of those sites were CBS News, USA Today, Politico, and CNN. It said right-leaning sites were poorly represented, including the National Review, the Weekly Standard, and Breitbart. Exceptions it cited include Fox News and the Wall Street Journal.

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  • Twitter responds: Trump accused tech sites in general of bias, and Twitter's Jack Dorsey denied the charge in an interview with CNN. "Are we doing something according to political ideology or viewpoints? We are not, period," he said. "We do not look at content with regards to political viewpoint or ideology. We look at behavior." But, he added, "I think we need to constantly show that we are not adding our own bias, which I fully admit is left, is more left-leaning."
  • Big hearing: Trump's accusation comes a week before execs from Facebook, Twitter, and Google return to Capitol Hill to discuss censorship and other issues, notes Axios. Such allegations of bias have circulated for years, says the site's David McCabe, but "nobody has presented strong evidence that the engineers at Silicon Valley companies manipulate algorithms to intentionally disadvantage conservatives because of a personal political bias."
  • From the right: This clip on Fox Business may have caught the president's attention, notes Gizmodo. Host Lou Dobbs cites the PJ Media post and accuses of Google of "banning conservatives." Guests Lynnette Hardaway and Rochelle Richardson, aka, "Diamond and Silk," agree. “Instead of using a noose, what they're doing is using algorithms and a form of censorship to choke people’s platforms out, and to keep people from doing a search when they want to search for our beautiful president."
  • Tough task: No matter what those on the left or right say, it's "difficult to analyze the idea of bias in Google’s algorithms," writes James Vincent at the Verge. "The company uses a number of measures to weight its search rankings, and while the exact formula is not known, factors like an outlet’s longevity, its reputation, and its ability to fill stories with relevant keywords all play a part." Search results also "differ from market to market, making objective analysis difficult."
(Read more President Trump stories.)

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