Trump bemoans Google hiding ‘fair media’ coverage of him, firm denies accusations

US President Donald Trump listens during a phone conversation with Mexico's President Enrique Pena Nieto on trade in the Oval Office of the White House. (AFP)
Updated 28 August 2018
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Trump bemoans Google hiding ‘fair media’ coverage of him, firm denies accusations

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump said without providing evidence on Tuesday that Google’s search engine was hiding “fair media” coverage of him and said he would address the situation, without giving any details.
In a pair of tweets, Trump said Google search results for “Trump News” showed only the reporting of what he terms fake news media.
“They have it RIGGED, for me & others,” he said, blaming Google, part of Alphabet Inc, for what he said was dangerous action that promoted mainstream media outlets such as CNN and suppressed conservative political voices.
“This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Trump added, without offering any details.
Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Google, however, disputed Trump's claim that the search engine behemoth was displaying only negative news about the president when searching for his name, saying the company does not favor search results for political purposes.
"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," Google, whose parent company is Alphabet, said in a statement.

"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." 
Trump has long criticized news media coverage of him, frequently using the term fake news to describe critical reports. He has made social media, particularly Twitter, an integral part of his presidency. He has previously accused social media companies, which include Twitter and Facebook, of censorship.
Trump’s accusation of bias on the part of Google comes as social media companies have suspended accounts, banned certain users and removed content as they face pressure from the US Congress to police foreign propaganda and fake accounts aimed at disrupting American politics, including operations tied to Iran and Russia.
Companies such as Facebook and Twitter have also been pressed to remove conspiracy driven content and hate speech.
Tech companies have said they do not remove content for political reasons.
Some Republican US lawmakers have also raised concerns about social media companies removing content from some conservatives, and have called Twitter’s chief executive to testify before a US House of Representatives committee on Sept. 5.
Earlier this month, Alphabet’s YouTube joined Apple Inc. and Facebook in removing some content from Infowars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones was also temporarily suspended on Twitter.


Instagram co-founders resigning: report

Instagram founders Mike Krieger (L) and Kevin Systrom attend the 16th annual Webby Awards in New York May, 21 2012. (REUTERS)
Updated 27 min 52 sec ago
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Instagram co-founders resigning: report

  • Systrom and Krieger did not give a reason for their departure

SAN FRANCISCO: Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are leaving the smartphone photo-sharing service bought by Facebook six years ago for a billion dollars, the New York Times reported late Monday citing unnamed sources.
Systrom and Krieger have resigned from their posts as chief executive and chief technology officer respectively, not giving reasons and saying they planned to take time off, according to the Times. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment. Instagram in June announced it passed a billion active users, and unveiled a new long-form video feature in a bid to attract “creators” like those on YouTube. It became the fourth Facebook platform to eclipse the billion-user mark, including the namesake social network with more than two billion users, and the messaging applications WhatsApp and Messenger.
Facebook acquired Instagram in April 2012 for a combination of cash and stock worth some $1 billion at the time. Instagram has been a hit with young Internet users, an audience that Facebook is keen to keep in its fold. The departures come as Facebook grapples with the worst crisis in its history, vilified for not more zealously guarding information users share at the leading online social network.
Many see Facebook as being the main vehicle for spreading false information in recent years, and of being used by nefarious interests out to sway the results of the elections such as the one that put President Donald Trump in the White House.
The Cambridge Analytica public relations disaster, in which Facebook admitted that up to 87 million users may have had their data hijacked by the British consultancy firm, came on top of widespread criticism of the social network’s propensity to spread and accentuate large amounts of completely false information.
Facebook is facing multiple inquiries from US and British regulators about the Cambridge Analytica user data scandal, and its boss Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by the European Parliament and the US Congress earlier this year.
WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum earlier this year left Facebook, which bought the smartphone messaging service for $19 billion.
Koum said in a post on his Facebook page that he was taking time off to pursue interests such as collecting air-cooled Porsches, working on cars and playing ultimate Frisbee.
US media reports indicated that a disagreement with Facebook over the privacy of user data may have also been a factor in Koum’s decision to quit his position as a high-ranking executive and likely leave his seat on the board at the leading online social network.