President Donald Trump on Tuesday made a bold accusation: that Google is intentionally promoting negative news stories about him in its search results, and “silencing” conservative voices.
President Donald Trump
That assertion, which Trump posted on his Twitter account, is backed up by scant evidence, and Google quickly responded by saying that “Search is not used to set a political agenda, and we don’t bias our results toward any political ideology.”
Trump stated that “96% of results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media,” calling the issue “very dangerous.” But that figure stems from an unscientific study conducted by conservative opinion blog PJMedia, which published a blog post on Saturday stating that the majority of all Trump-related search results on Google’s News tab come from outlets that PJMedia categorized as “liberal.”
We wanted to see for ourselves what happens when you search for Trump news in Google’s News section, so we performed a basic, and admittedly unscientific, analysis of our own.
Keep in mind that Google News uses a mix of both generalized algorithms and personalized features to generate results — so to some extent, each person’s results will look somewhat different based on their past activity and preferences on Google sites.
And of course, these results reflect just one day’s worth of popular news stories on a limited number of topics. The fact that certain publications might appear more frequently than others in the results does not tell us anything why that is the case — and it certainly doesn’t prove that results are “rigged.” More likely, the results simply reflect the credibility of the news organizations covering a given topic.