President Donald Trump today suggested tech giants like Google and Twitter are the greatest threat to the integrity of the 2020 presidential election — and said anti-conservative bias among the companies had a greater impact in 2016 than Russian meddling.
“Let me tell you, they’re trying to rig the election,” Trump said in a phone interview on Fox Business. “That’s what we should be looking at, not that witch hunt, the phony witch hunt.”
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Charging Google with being “totally biased” in favor of Democrats and fomenting “hatred for the Republicans,” Trump downplayed Russia’s 2016 social media manipulation: “You know, they talk about Russia because they had some bloggers—and by the way, those bloggers, some of them were going both ways. They were for Clinton and for Trump.”
Lawmakers, academics and U.S. intelligence officials are in broad agreement that Russia mounted a vast online disinformation campaign ahead of the 2016 election with the aim of inflaming American political and social tensions, supporting Trump’s candidacy and depressing Democratic voter turnout.
Trump’s comments reiterated claims that he and other prominent Republicans have made alleging that tech companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter are biased against conservatives and deliberately stifle their accounts and content. The companies flatly deny these allegations.
His criticisms came immediately after an extended broadside against Twitter for allegedly blocking people from following his account on the site, a claim the president has made repeatedly without evidence.
Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. A Google spokesperson said, “We build our products with extraordinary care and safeguards to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without any regard for political viewpoint,” noting the company’s publicly available criteria for determining the quality of search results.