Conservative politicians are calling out Google, but for the wrong reasons

Graphic by Maria Nevada

Will Patterson

Google has become a way of life for most Americans and for people all over the globe. The search engine and its plethora of services have become commonplace in our day-to-day lives. This makes the recent accusations by conservative politicians and the company’s future plans alarming for everyone.

Google came under fire by President Donald Trump when he accused the search engine of specifically promoting left-leaning ideology. In a series of tweets, Trump accused the organization of promoting publications that only reported negatively on his administration. While Trump’s claim is mostly baseless and more likely just another early morning Twitter rant, this doesn’t mean that he didn’t touch on some important issues.

Exactly how must power does Google have? Considering that most Americans use the search engine as their primary way of browsing the internet, Google certainly does have the capability to skew public opinion.

Google released a public statement refuting Trump’s claim against intentionally working against their organization. According to the statement, the company treated his first address to Congress (which is not the same as the State of the Union) the same way they treated the previous address given in 2009.

To further establish these claims as rumors, Google CEO Sundar Pichai agreed to a private meeting with several lawmakers about bias concerns. Additionally, he agreed to meet with several members of Trump’s cabinet about similar concerns. The meetings had not yet happened at the time of writing.

So, Google might not actually be interfering in American politics through skewed results. There still appears to be a trend of the president making claims about schemes against him that are frequently untrue. That doesn’t mean that Google is off the hook. While headlines have been filled with Trump and Google connections, there has been a lack of coverage over the company’s reconsideration of rejoining the Chinese government internet.

Due to China’s strict government-imposed censorship laws, Google doesn’t currently have a presence in the country. Previously, the company refused to bend to what they viewed as unethical censorship of the internet. Now the New York Times reports that a leaked secret project has stirred up internal controversy. The formerly secret project is a censored application intended for Chinese users.

The New York Times also reported that at least 1,400 Google employees have signed a petition demanding more transparency. This petition has resulted in response to concerns that the company is violating serious ethical values.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Vice President Mike Pence publicly called for Google to end its development of a censored Chinese service. Still, this has never been the main concern for American politicians and it absolutely should be.

We know that Google holds immense power to control public opinion, and Google has claimed to refrain from doing that to American users. Political leaders need to stop worrying about false claims from the president and start working to prevent the Chinese government from utilizing Google for propaganda to over a billion people if they fail to act.