PRESIDENT Donald Trump stepped up attacks on big tech firms Tuesday, warning Facebook, Google and Twitter to be “careful”, hours after slamming what he called “rigged” internet search results.
Trump offered no details on what if any actions he might take, but a top White House aide suggested the administration may look at some type of regulation in response to the president’s complaints.
After a pair of early-morning tweets assailing Google, Trump expanded his warnings to other big internet firms. in comments to reporters at the White House.
“I think Google is really taking advantage of a lot of people and I think that is a very serious thing and it is a very serious charge,” Trump said.
He went on to cite Facebook and Twitter, in an apparent reference to his claims last week of social media suppressing conservative voices.
“You can’t do that to people,” he said. “We have literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in.”
Trump added: “Google and Twitter and Facebook – they are really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful.”
In his Twitter comments, the US president complained that Google searches for “Trump news” brought up mostly negative stories about him.
“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?” he wrote.
According to Trump, “96 per cent of results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media”.
Google strongly rejected any bias claims.
“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology,” it said.
“We continually work to improve Google search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment.”
It was not immediately clear what, if any, measures Trump envisioned, but his top economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters at the White House that “we’re looking into it” when asked about the claims on Google.
Last week, Trump tweeted that “Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices” and added “we won’t let that happen.”
Free speech guarantees
The president’s claims on Google appeared to be based on a report from the Trump-friendly news site PJ Media which relied on an analysis chart by conservative news host Sharyl Attkisson that categorised major news outlets such as the New York Times, CBS and CNN as “left wing.”
“Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good,” Trump said.