Donald Trump accuses Google of rigging results to show 'bad stories' when users search for him

President Donald Trump lashed out at US tech companies today, accusing Google and others of suppressing conservative voices and "hiding information" and good news.

The President took aim at Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Robert Mueller in another Twitter tirade.
Source: 1 NEWS

He cited no evidence for the claim, which echoes both his own attacks on the press and a conservative talking point.

Google, operator of the world's most popular search engine, responded by saying: "We never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."

Trump tweeted before dawn: "This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!" Hours later, Larry Kudlow, the president's top economic adviser, said the White House is "taking a look" at whether Google searches should be subject to some government regulation.

Trump has made similar complaints before, but he carried it a step further Tuesday.

"Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake New Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal?"

He added, without offering evidence, that "96% of results on "Trump News" are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous".

A query several hours after the president tweeted showed stories from CNN, ABC News, Fox News and the MarketWatch business site, among others. A similar search later in the day for "Trump" had Fox News, the president's favoured cable network, among the top results.

Trump tweeted that Google and others "are controlling what we can & cannot see".

In response, Google said its goal is to make sure users of its search engine get the most relevant answers to their queries quickly.

"Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology," the Mountain View, California-based company said. "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."

Google searches aim to surface the most relevant pages in response to a user's query, even before he or she finishes typing.

The answers that appear first are the ones Google's formulas, with some help from human content reviewers, deem to be the most authoritative, informative and relevant.

Many factors help decide the initial results, including how much time people spend on a page, how many other pages link to it, how well it's designed and more.

A search for "why is the sky blue?" for example, yields initial results from NASA, universities and "Scientific American".

Similarly, entering "Trump" and clicking the "news" tab will produce results from mainstream media outlets that large swaths of the population tend to trust. That is even though Trump has derided some of these outlets as "fake news".

Trump and some supporters have long accused Silicon Valley companies of being biased against them. But, while some company executives may lean liberal, they have long asserted that their products are without political bias, and indeed no such bias has been proven.

Trump didn't say what he based his tweets on. But in a blog post over the weekend, conservative activist Paula Boylard had said she found "blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media outlets" in search results.

Boylard based her judgments on which media outlets were left- or right-leaning on a list by Sharyl Attkisson, host of Sinclair Television's "Full Measure" and author of "The Smear: How Shady Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, Think, and How You Vote". Sinclair is a significant outlet for conservative views.

Trump began complaining about the issue earlier this month as social media companies moved to ban right-wing "Infowars" conspiracy theorist Alex Jones from their platforms.

The president also argues regularly — and falsely — that the news media avoid writing positive stories about him and his administration.

Apple, YouTube and Spotify have permanently removed some of Jones' content, Facebook has suspended him for 30 days and removed some of his pages, and Twitter gave Jones a weeklong timeout and was mulling deeper changes to try to limit the spread of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.

Trump has not named Jones, who is being sued for saying the 2012 shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School was staged, in any tweets on the issue.

Jones has since said he believes the shooting did occur and has argued that the lawsuit should be dismissed because he was acting as a journalist.

Trump has praised Jones' "amazing" reputation.


The issue is also of concern on Capitol Hill, where the House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep Greg Walden, R-Ore., recently announced that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey will testify before the panel on Sept. 5 about the platform's algorithms and content monitoring.

Google, however, denied using politics to influence its search engine. Source: Breakfast



No vacancy: Curious mountain lion wanders around Colorado motel

A mountain lion has been caught on a surveillance camera dashing to the doorstep of a Colorado motel office, venturing toward the open doorway and then wandering away.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokesman Jason Clay says nobody was hurt in the Sept. 9 encounter.

The Boulder Daily Camera reported Tuesday the lion approached the Foot of the Mountain Motel on Boulder's west side. Just after entering the camera's view, the lion pauses, as if startled.

Clay says that was when the lion spotted motel guests with with a dog on a leash.

Clay says the guests and their dog returned to their room and there was no trouble.

The lion thought better of kipping down for the night at the Foot of the Mountain Motel. Source: Associated Press

In August, a mountain lion entered a Boulder home and killed a house cat, and another was tranquilized and relocated from under a porch.


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McDonald's workers across US protest sexual harassment

McDonald's workers are staging protests in several cities in what organisers called the first multistate strike seeking to combat sexual harassment in the workplace.

In Chicago, several dozen protesters rallied today in front of McDonald's headquarters while a plane flew overhead with a banner reading, "McDonald's: Stop Sexual Harassment."

In New Orleans, current and former employees chanted, "Hey, McDonalds, you can't hide — we can see your nasty side."

Those are among 10 targeted cities. Other protests were held in St. Louis; Kansas City, Missouri; and Durham, North Carolina.

Protesters are demanding that McDonalds require anti-harassment training for managers and employees. The fast food chain defends its policies.

Another demand is forming a national committee to address sexual harassment, made up of workers, management and leaders of national women's groups.

Current and former McDonald's employees wear tape with "#MeToo" over their mouths as they up to one of their restaurants for a protest in New Orleans. Source: Associated Press

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Day care owner accused of tying kids to car seats for up to seven hours, fastening shoe laces around their necks

The owner of an in-home day care accused of keeping infants and toddlers tied to their car seats for hours has been jailed in the United States on child endangerment charges.

An affidavit says Rebecca Anderson also yanked a six-month-old child by the bib around his neck, tied laces around the children's necks to limit their movement and gave them the painkiller acetaminophen to quiet them.

The 60-year-old is accused of having kept the small children tied up in car seats for at least seven hours a day at Becky's Home Child Care, her day care near Dallas, Texas.

When police executed a search warrant on her home, they found three children in a dark bedroom closet strapped to car seats, according to CBS 11 News in Dallas. Some of the children had to have shoelaces cut off their necks, police also said.

"It just kind of concerned me the way the kids sounded when the parents dropped them off," neighbour Susan Geldmeier told the news station, explaining that she would sometimes hear children wail when dropped off at the facility.

"It alarmed me to where I was like, 'Why are they sounding like that?'"

Anderson was booked Monday into the Dallas County jail on nine counts of child endangerment with bonds totalling NZ $68,000.

Rebecca Anderson Source: Dallas County Jail


Kidnap suspect accused of tying woman to pole at outlaw bikie clubhouse, assaulting her for days

A Sydney man has been charged after he allegedly kidnapped a woman, holding her prisoner and assaulting her for two days.

The 22-year-old woman told police she was walking in Cambridge Park in the city's west on Sunday when a man known to her forced her into his car and took her to an outlaw bikie clubhouse in Horsley Park.

She said she was tied to a pole and assaulted for two days.

The man allegedly forced her back into the car yesterday and drove to South Penrith. When he left the car, the woman managed to escape to a nearby property and call police, she said.

When police went to the clubhouse to arrest the 29-year-old man, he held officers off for two hours before surrendering peacefully.

He has been charged with kidnapping, assault and intimidation and is expected to appear in Fairfield Local Court today.

Sign on the top of an Australian police car in Sydney Source: istock.com