As his attorney general prepared to consider antitrust action against social media companies, President Trump accused Google and Facebook and Twitter of interfering in both the 2016 and 2018 presidential elections.
In an interview in the White House with the Daily Caller, Trump said the social media companies favored Democratic president candidate Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“I mean the true interference in the last election was that — if you look at all, virtually all of those companies are super liberal companies in favor of Hillary Clinton,” he said.
“Maybe I did a better job because I’m good with the Twitter and I’m good at social media, but the truth is they were all on Hillary Clinton’s side, and if you look at what was going on with Facebook and with Google and all of it, they were very much on her side,” the president said.
He cautioned companies not to maintain a bias because it could one day be used against political causes that they prefer.
Shortly after executives from Facebook and Twitter testified Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Justice Department announced a meeting with state attorneys general to discuss “growing concern” about censorship by social-media platforms, suggesting they are violating antitrust laws.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has scheduled the meeting for September, DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement, the Hill reported.
The objective, he said, will be “to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms.”
Meanwhile, at the Senate hearing, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded to accusations by Trump and other Republican leaders of political bias against conservatives, insisting his company strives to be “impartial.”
Trump: Google ‘rigged’
President Trump weighed in on the issue last week via Twitter, accusing Google of altering search results against him and conservative voices and vowing that the issue “will be addressed.”
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media,” the president said.
“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.”
Trump added: “Illegal? 96% of … 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!”
Later Tuesday, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow was asked by reporters whether or not the White House was considering pursuing some kind of government regulation of Google.
Kudlow replied: “We’ll let you know. We’re taking a look at it. We’ll let you know.”
Google responded Tuesday to Trump’s tweets with a statement insisting there is no “political agenda” or “bias” in its search results.
“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 company 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.”