President Trump has attacked Google in a series of tweets referencing allegations of the company’s bias and anti-conservative culture.
The president claimed Google chief executive Sundar Pichai had been in the Oval Office “working very hard to explain how much he liked me” and disputing criticisms by rivals and right-wing commentators.
Mr Trump said: “It all sounded good until I watched Kevin Cernekee, a Google engineer, say terrible things about what they did in 2016 and that they want to ‘Make sure that Trump loses in 2020’.”
Mr Cernekee appeared on Fox & Friends the evening before the tweets, claiming that Google executives cried on stage when President Trump won the election in 2016 and “vowed that it would never happen again”.
Google has not responded to Mr Cernekee’s claims.
The president also criticised Google on Twitter last August, saying it “rigged” search results to give greater prominence to negative stories about him.
Those claims came the morning after they were broadcast on the Lou Dobbs Tonight programme, a show on Fox Business Network.
Dobbs was referenced in the president’s recent Twitter complaints as having “stated that this is a fraud on the American public”.
He also said that journalist Peter Schweizer had “stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Trump”.
Mr Trump added: “All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!”
….in 2020.” Lou Dobbs stated that this is a fraud on the American public. @peterschweizer stated with certainty that they suppressed negative stories on Hillary Clinton, and boosted negative stories on Donald Ttump. All very illegal. We are watching Google very closely!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 6, 2019
Among the matters Google’s chief executive is said to have discussed with the president is the claim it was working with the Chinese military.
That claim appears to have originated from Peter Thiel, a Silicon Valley billionaire and prominent supporter of Mr Trump.
Mr Thiel suggested Google’s alleged attempt to work with the Chinese military was “seemingly treasonous”, and questioned – without providing evidence – whether Google had been “infiltrated” by foreign intelligence agencies.
Last year’s claims on the Lou Dobbs show said 96% of Google results were biased against the president and cited what Mr Trump described as the “National Left-Wing Media” which he said was “very dangerous”.
According to Matthew Gertz, a senior fellow at the Media Matters foundation, the data the Fox show used had counted The New York Times, Bloomberg and the BBC as left-wing news sources.
Google has consistently rejected Donald Trump’s allegation of bias, including when the president incorrectly claimed the tech giant promoted Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses but not his own.
Mr Trump, who has 54 million followers on Twitter, tweeted a video last year with the message “#StoptheBias”.
The clip, which purportedly contains screenshots of the search engine’s homepage, showed the page displaying live links to watch Mr Obama’s speeches each year from 2012 to 2016, but not a link to Mr Trump’s from 2017 onwards.
But Google dismissed the allegation, saying it did promote Mr Trump’s first and only State of the Union address in 2018.
In July 2017, the president claimed Twitter was shadow-banning prominent Republicans – a way of reducing a person’s online visibility to the public without blocking them. Twitter denied the allegation.