Attorney General Jeff Sessions has scheduled a meeting with state attorneys general in September to discuss a “growing concern” that tech companies may be “intentionally stifling” the free flow of ideas on their platforms.
In a statement issued right after executives from Facebook and Twitter finished testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Department of Justice (DOJ) also suggested that the platforms were running afoul of antitrust laws, reports The Hill.
“The Attorney General has convened a meeting with a number of state attorneys general this month to discuss a growing concern that these companies may be hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas on their platforms,” DOJ spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement issued near the end of the congressional hearing.
President Trump and conservative House Republicans have repeatedly aired complaints about bias against conservatives on Facebook, Twitter, Google and other social media platforms. Those companies though have denied censoring conservative speech.
Have any doubts about censorship & bias on social media? View these two examples of Facebook bias below.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday morning on efforts to combat foreign influence operations on their platforms.
Dorsey will face a second grilling later Wednesday from lawmakers in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where he is expected to face questions on the allegations of conservative censorship.
The DOJ’s move is the first sign of the administration taking concrete action to address alleged bias following President Trump’s public accusations against tech companies last week. It also comes at a time of tension between the president and his top law enforcement officer. Trump has repeatedly chastised Sessions over his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, faulting the attorney general in August for not taking control of what he sees as “corruption” at the Justice Department. And on Monday, Trump blasted Sessions on Twitter over recent indictments against two Republican congressmen.
The announcement also signals that the Justice Department is paying attention to the growing movement to challenge Facebook’s and Google’s market power.
Trump said the companies might have antitrust problems but declined to discuss whether they should be broken up.
Google has been dogged by massive antitrust fines in Europe, where regulators have accused the company of using its dominance in internet search, mobile operating systems and online advertising to suppress competition.
Facebook is also facing antitrust scrutiny in the EU.
But the U.S. has yet to take any action against the internet giants over their market power.
Spokespeople for Google, Facebook and Twitter did not immediately respond when asked for comment.
This latest action comes on the heels of President Donald Trump accusing Google of altering search results to prioritize negative coverage and left-leaning outlets and warned that the issue “will be addressed.”
Trump said in a tweet that the tech giant’s search engine had “rigged” news story results to show mostly “bad” stories about him and other conservatives.
Not only do they rig it, but #Google will blacklist websites they do not like, so they NEVER show up in search results. They did it to me last September! I published too much truth, so they lynched my website!
— overpasses4America (@o4america) August 28, 2018
….results on “Trump News” are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 28, 2018
“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,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement Tuesday.
“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.”
Unfortunately for the person with Google, they have just been busted in an outright lie. We here at o4anews.com know this for certain, because Google blacklisted our original domain, www.overpassesforamerica.com.
Google’s parent company Alphabet is a key driver of the Nasdaq’s performance. The firm’s shares were under pressure following Trump’s comments, down around 0.5 percent, reports CNBC.
Later Tuesday, Larry Kudlow, Trump’s economic advisor, told Bloomberg that the White House is “looking into” whether Google suppresses positive articles about the president.
Google has just been busted in an outright lie. They will outright blacklist domains they don't like. I KNOW, IT WAS DONE TO ME!
— overpasses4America (@o4america) August 28, 2018
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
September 6th, 2018