Earlier in the year, the US president, Donald Trump rekindled his interest in Google’s activities. Trump has a history of questioning the Silicon Valley giants’ motives and actions, using one alibi or the other. This time it was based on his suspicion that somehow, Google has been helping the Chinese Government to spy on the US and steal intelligence.
It was and allegation that prompted a meeting between Trump and Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai, at the White House. Where he assured Trump that Google has not been compromised and cannot work for a foreign government against the United States. Trump tweeted after their meeting:
“Sundar Pichai was in the Oval Office working very hard to explain how much he liked me, what a great job the Administration is doing, that Google was not involved with China’s military, that they didn’t help Crooked Hillary over me in 2016 election, and they are not planning to illegally subvert the 2020 election despite all that has been said to the contrary. It sounded all good.”
Trump lost the popular vote by almost 2.9 million, in the 2016 general election and has a claim that it was due to electoral fraud. Now there is a shift in the narrative, with him claiming that he could have lost the popular votes with a little margin or won it after all, if not for the manipulations of Google.
In 2017, the editor in chief of Psychology Today, Robert Epstein, examined how Google might have influenced voters’ decisions in favor of Clinton. He said that the search results may have been manipulated to influence an estimated 2.6 million votes for Hillary Clinton, or even at the maximum of 10.4 million. Trump took it up from there, and his swipe at Google heightened. Although, Epstein explained:
“I’ve never said Google manipulated the 2016 elections.”
It doesn’t matter, Trump has taken his examination as an alibi to aim at Google, and even exaggerated the figures put out by Epstein.
The recent outburst of a disgruntled former employee of Google, Kevin Cernekee, who has been on the news slandering his former company, accusing it of sabotaging Trump’s chances of winning the last election in favor of Hillary Clinton, seems to have revived the grudge. Trump tweeted on Monday:
“Wow, report just out! Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016 election. This was put out by a Clinton supporter, not a Trump supporter. Google should be sued. My victory was even bigger than thought.”
This is one in a series of tweets alleging anti-conservative bias by Google, and a conspiracy to sway votes in the 2020 elections against the right wing. And the recent interviews granted by Cernekee to Fox and Wall Street Journal have upped it. With Trump sharing the video clips and calling them “very illegal.”
With 2020 around the corner, there seem to be unprecedented premonition among conservatives that not only Google, but the social media as whole could be used to subvert the elections. And it is getting paranoid. President Trump has warned that “they are watching Google closely.”
The fear is that the search giants may once again suppress negative news about opponents while presenting searchers with all the negatives about Trump administration. A claim that though it cannot be substantiated, has been held to be true by many, especially supporters of the president.
Google has been in defense of itself, not wanting a loggerhead with the president. But it is becoming inevitable, and in the face of trade war with China, the US government getting into a fight with Google will do more harm than good.