On Tuesday during a hearing in Washington, Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren asked Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, why pictures of President Donald Trump comes up when you search the word “idiot.”

“Right now, if you Google the word ‘idiot’ under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. I just did that,” The California Democrat told Pichai. “How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?” Lofgren asked before stating that she believes that “it’s important to talk about how search works.”

In response, Pichai, who had attended the hearing, to address allegations of political bias in Google’s search engines, gave the House Judiciary Committee a detailed explanation about the search engine. 

“Any time you type in a keyword, as Google we have gone out and crawled and stored copies of billions of (web) pages in our index. And we take the keyword and match it against their pages and rank them based on over 200 signals — things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it,” Pichai explained. “And based on that, at any given time, we try to rank and find the best search results for that query.”

“Then we evaluate them with external raters, and they evaluate it to objective guidelines,” he continued. “And that’s how we make sure the process is working.”

“So it’s not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we’re going to show the user. It’s basically a compilation of what users are generating, and trying to sort through that information?” Zofgren asked referring to Republicans allegations that Google employees manipulate results for political reasons which the hearing revealed was false. 

It was also revealed that although Trump does appear within the 17 top images under the Google search “idiot,” the first image to appear is actually a Belgian painter’s work called “The Idiot,” which appears on the Wikipedia page for the word “idiot.”

But Rep. Lamar Smith wasn’t buying that Google had nothing to do with it and asked Pichai whether he had ever directed any employees to manipulate search results. In response, Pichai explained that such a thing was not possible because there are too many steps in the process, but Smith didn’t accept Pichai’s explanation and dismissed it. “Let me just say, I disagree. I think humans can manipulate the process. It is a human process at its base,” he said. 


In August, Trump tweeted that a Google search for “Trump News” showed only reports from “Fake News Media.”

“Google search results for “Trump News” shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News 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?” Trump wrote. 

“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!” he wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Many conservatives have maintained that they believe that Google tampers with its search engines although Google has shot the theory down.

“I think it’s happening,” Rep. Steve Chabot said during the hearing while referring to Google “picking winners and losers in political discourse.”

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