UPDATE 1-Trump accuses Google of hiding ‘fair media’ coverage of him

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Tuesday Google’s search engine was hiding “fair media” coverage of him, without providing evidence, and said he would address the situation, although he gave no details.

In a pair of tweets, Trump said Google search results for “Trump News” showed only the reporting of what he terms fake news media.

“They have it RIGGED, for me others,” he said, blaming Google, part of Alphabet Inc, for what he said was dangerous action that promoted mainstream media outlets such as CNN and suppressed conservative political voices.

“This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!” Trump added. He did not offer any details.

Representatives for the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Google also could not be immediately reached. Shares of Google’s parent company Alphabet fell 0.6 percent to $1,248.28.

While the exact science behind Google searches on the internet is kept secret, its basic principles are widely known. Search results on Google are generated by a variety of factors measured by the company’s algorithms.

They include determining a site’s relevance by counting the number of links to the page. Other factors such as personal browsing history and how certain keywords appear on the page also affect how pages are ranked. Popular news sites such as CNN.com and NYTimes.com, which many readers link to, can appear higher in searches based on such factors.

Trump has long criticized news media coverage of him, frequently using the term fake news to describe critical reports. He has made social media, particularly Twitter, an integral part of his presidency. He has previously accused social media companies, which include Twitter and Facebook, of censorship.

Trump’s accusation of bias on the part of Google comes as social media companies have suspended accounts, banned certain users and removed content as they face pressure from the U.S. Congress to police foreign propaganda and fake accounts aimed at disrupting American politics, including operations tied to Iran and Russia.

Companies such as Facebook Inc and Twitter Inc have also been pressed to remove conspiracy driven content and hate speech.

Tech companies have said they do not remove content for political reasons.

Some Republican U.S. lawmakers have also raised concerns about social media companies removing content from some conservatives, and have called Twitter’s chief executive to testify before a House of Representatives panel on Sept. 5. Earlier this month, Alphabet’s YouTube joined Apple Inc and Facebook in removing some content from Infowars, a website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones. Jones was also temporarily suspended on Twitter.

Reporting by Susan Heavey; Additional reporting by Ken Li in New York and Chris Sanders in Washington; Editing by Frances Kerry

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