On Tuesday morning, President Donald Trump woke up, Googled himself, and wasn't very happy with what he saw. In a two-tweet tirade, he accused the search engine of bias in its search results because Googling "Trump News" resulted in "BAD" reports from mainstream media outlets like CNN. Trump threatened Google, accusing it of "suppressing" conservative news.
Just before 5:30 a.m. ET, Trump tweeted that "Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media." He noted that CNN is prominent while Republican and conservative media sources are "shut out." A Google spokesperson denied the accusations in a statement to Bustle, saying the search giant's focus is providing the "most relevant answers in a matter of seconds."
In recent weeks, Trump and his administration have been at the center of or connected to many stories from guilty pleas for campaign finance violations and secret tapes from inside the White House to slights of John McCain, a sitting senator who just died. Trump claimed that coverage — or rather its prominence in Google results — to be "very dangerous."
"They have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD," Trump wrote, going on to ask if it is 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!
The results from Googling "Trump news" later in the morning were filled with stories about the president's accusations of bias in the Google results. But with the results limited to yesterday or before, they are mostly negative (and largely factual).
The video results that appear at the top of the page include his embarrassing speakerphone incident with the Mexican president, federal investigations, and claims from Chris Cuomo that "Trump looked like a loser." The articles linked to below didn't paint him in a much better light.
In the full statement provided to Bustle, Google makes clear that politics don't play any role in what comes up:
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. 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.
It's unclear whether or not Trump actually Googled himself, despite the rage. New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman tweeted on Tuesday morning that Trump "doesn’t use a computer." "Someone is doing the googling but not him," she wrote.
According to The Guardian, the outrage may have stemmed from an article posted by PJ Media in which a reporter conducted a self-described "not scientific" study that suggested 96 percent was from mainstream sources.
Google does in fact control much of what you see, for better or worse. The regular "Trump news" Google results on Tuesday morning featured a Fox News article in first place.