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.


Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi

Updated 21 March 2019
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Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand jailed in Hanoi

  • Truong Duy Nhat fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees
  • His employer and family lost contact with him soon after
HANOI: A Vietnamese blogger who vanished in Thailand earlier this year is being held in a Hanoi prison, his friend and wife confirmed Thursday.
Truong Duy Nhat wrote weekly posts about politics and current affairs for Radio Free Asia (RFA) and last posted about the prospects for change in Vietnam in light of major anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela.
All independent media is banned in Vietnam and bloggers, activists and rights lawyers are routinely jailed. The one-party state has seen an uptick of arrests under a hard-line leadership in charge since 2016, with nearly 60 put behind bars last year according to an AFP tally.
Nhat, 55, fled to Thailand in January and applied for refugee status with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, according to RFA.
His employer and family lost contact with him soon after and he has not been heard from since. The UN said does not comment on individual cases.
Nhat’s friend Pham Xuan Nguyen said he visited Hanoi’s T-16 jail on Wednesday and received confirmation Nhat was being held there.
“I took Nhat’s wife to the jail yesterday. I saw the book the jail gave to her to register future visits,” he said Thursday.
“Inside the book, the date of his arrest was written January, 28 2019 ... it said that he was transferred to the jail the same day,” he said, adding that they did not see Nhat.
The blogger’s wife Cao Thi Xuan Phuong confirmed the account to AFP, declining to comment further.
His daughter Truong Thuc Doan, who lives in Canada, said she believes he was taken from Thailand against his will.
“It’s clear that my father did not voluntarily go back to Vietnam,” she told RFA.
The circumstances of Nhat’s return have not been confirmed by Hanoi and he has not yet been formally charged.
This is Nhat’s second prison stint. He was jailed for two years in 2014 for “abusing democratic freedoms” after writing blogs critical of Vietnam’s communist leadership.
Hanoi has in the past forcibly returned corruption suspects, including a former state oil executive kidnapped by Vietnamese security agents from a Berlin park in 2017.
Last year a fugitive spy was sent back from Singapore to face trial for divulging state secrets.