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President Donald Trump claimed in a tweet on Monday that Google “manipulated” 16 million votes during the 2016 presidential election and for many people, the immediate reaction was: what is he talking about?
“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! @JudicialWatch,” the president tweeted on Monday afternoon, tagging right-wing advocacy group Judicial Watch.
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! @JudicialWatch— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 19, 2019
Trump has been a critic of technology companies and has often said that he believes there is an anti-conservative bias among them.
Many believed Trump may have been citing the testimony of Robert Epstein, a research psychologist, who testified before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee earlier this summer. Epstein has argued that candidates being favored in search results can “easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more.”
In his testimony before the Senate subcommittee, Epstein said that he found that Google’s search algorithm “impacted undecided voters in a way that gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton.”
However, Google’s Sundar Pichai found some of Epstein’s methodology to be flawed, according to the Los Angeles Times. The company also called Epstein’s research “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory,” when asked about it by the Washington Post.
Epstein, in his testimony, said he supported Hillary Clinton in 2016.
Trump appears to be citing Robert Epstein, who claimed during a Senate Judiciary hearing that Google's search algorithm "gave at least 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton." (1/X) https://t.co/UnqmVpDNfw https://t.co/ReFK9OfGLr— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) August 19, 2019
That research appears highly questionable at best.— Cristiano Lima (@viaCristiano) August 19, 2019
Epstein testified to Senate that search results for participants prior to the 2016 election were "significantly biased in favor of Secretary Clinton." And he claims search results strongly influence undecided voters.
Others noticed that Trump’s tweet may have come after he watched Fox Business.
Good morning the president is watching Fox Business.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) August 19, 2019
Left, Fox Business' Varney & Co., 11:45 a.m.
Right, Trump, 11:52 a.m. pic.twitter.com/FP0iDSIk1q
Even in his bombastic analysis, Trump appears to be wildly wrong.
“Notably Trump’s claim that the guy said ‘Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016′ is wrong — he said it impacted 2.6 million in 2016, and could, together with Facebook and Twitter, impact 15 million people in 2020,” noted Media Matters’ Matthew Gertz.
Notably Trump's claim that the guy said "Google manipulated from 2.6 million to 16 million votes for Hillary Clinton in 2016" is wrong -- he said it impacted 2.6 million in 2016, and could, together with Facebook and Twitter, impact 15 million people in 2020.— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) August 19, 2019
Despite this, the tweet drew a lot of mockery.
Does anyone here have even the slightest goddamn clue what he is talking about? https://t.co/uuUCsJ7DAb— Jeff E (@jeff13164) August 19, 2019
Sad to report that Tim Google rigged the election. https://t.co/cKARxfFrfp— Anthony DeRosa🗽 (@Anthony) August 19, 2019
Just wait until he finds out about how many votes the lizard people changed. https://t.co/QwMj15q96y— The Jazz Slinger (@guitaaron75) August 19, 2019
Executive time. https://t.co/bsh5cCZrZt— Rick Hasen (@rickhasen) August 19, 2019
Andrew Wyrich is a politics staff writer for the Daily Dot, covering the intersection of politics and the internet. Andrew has written for USA Today, NorthJersey.com, and other newspapers and websites. His work has been recognized by the Society of the Silurians, Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE), and the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ).