UPDATED with Trump comments in the Oval Office. Google has firmly denied assertions made in pre-dawn tweets by President Donald Trump that the tech giant skews search results against him and other conservative figures.
Trump, apparently spreading a theory put forward over the weekend by a conservative blog, asserted that 96% of results for the phrase “Trump News” produce posts from outlets he labeled “National Left Wing Media.” He called it a “very serious situation” that “will be addressed.”
In a statement provided to Deadline, a Google spokesman repudiated the president’s claims.
“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,” the statement said. “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.”
After the company’s denial, Trump dug in with comments to reporters in the Oval Office.
“I think Google has really taken advantage of a lot of people, and I think that’s a very serious thing. That’s a very serious charge,” he said, according to the Associated Press. Google and other major companies like Facebook and Twitter “better be careful, because you can’t do that to people.”
He went on to claim that the White House has “literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in. … So I think that Google and Twitter and Facebook, they’re really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”
Trump has had a push-pull relationship with major tech firms, inviting several moguls to a White House schmooze session in 2017 while also maintaining a feud with Amazon.
Last week, he complained that social media companies are “silencing millions of people” despite abundant evidence that Facebook (and the influence there by international forces) helped get him elected. Twitter, as well, has become a daily refuge.
The Twitter attack comes barely a month after Trump publicly backed Google, hammering the European Union for fining Google a record $5 billion fine over its mobile phone operating system. At that time, he lauded Google as one of America’s “great companies.”