Recently, President Donald Trump tweeted that Google manipulates their search result so that news sites that criticises him gets to be top results instead of news sites that gives positive news about him. Fact Watch compared the search results of Google with and other search engines to find out whether the President is right or wrong?
On 28th August 2018, US President Donald J. Trump tweeted that Google rigs its search results so that news from CNN gets promoted instead of news from Fox News.
So how true is the US President?
“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.” – Google spokesperson
We compared the search results for “trump news” in top search engines like Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Google and Bing are the top search engines used all over the world, whereas DuckDuckGo shows the same search results for a search term worldwide. Also, as Trump mentioned news sources getting rigged, we’ve therefore included only the top news sources that pops up in the searches.
Therefore, in Google, the top news sources were The Washington Post, The New York Times, HuffPost.
For Bing, the top news sources were Fox News, MSN, Houston Chronicle and Seattlepi.
In DuckDuckGo, the top news sources were Fox News, Fox 13 Memphis and CBS News.
So, why are there different search results?
The answer lies in their usage of algorithms or set of rules for computers to follow. When choosing a top news, Google considers relativity, freshness, authoritativeness and quality of the news source. The search is also heavily influenced by location and previous search results.
DuckDuckGo is rumored to used both Google and Bing search engines.
Hence, why doesn’t Fox News pop up in Google?
Based on Alexa web ranking, Fox News ranks 7. Whereas, CNN ranks 3, followed by New York Times and The Guardian. Hence, as per Google rules, it’s expected that these news sources will pop up before Fox News.
Google, CNN and Trump
Trump’s relationship with CNN has always been volatile. On 2nd July, 2017, he tweeted a video of his appearance at WWE, where he was seen wrestling with a CNN logo head. Therefore, after Trump’s tweet, CNN responded with a rejoinder stating that CNN does not lie but they do publish news about men who lies while in power.
This is the first time, Trump had gone against Google, he recently accused them of not highlighting his innauguartion speech at their homepage like they did with Obama, to which Google responded that they did not highlight Obama’s speech in 2009.
Google’s algorithm and news guideline policies only highlights news that are relevant, authentic and are dependent on location and previous search results. Whereas, Bing follows a similar guideline but tries to provide a diversified search result. As, Fox News ranks below CNN or New York Times in Alexa rankings, their news do not get prominence in Google’s search results. Therefore, it’s understandable for the president to accuse Google because of his relationship with CNN, but that does not mean Google rigs their search results. Hence, the claim is FALSE.