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Rep. Zoe Lofgren asks Google CEO why she got Trump pictures when she searched for 'idiot'

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., at a House Armed Services Committee hearing in June, 2018.

STARS AND STRIPES

By WILLIAM CUMMINGS | USA Today | Published: December 12, 2018

WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Rep. Zoe Lofgren wants to know why so many pictures of President Donald Trump appear when one does a Google search for "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 Google CEO Sundar Pichai during a House Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday in Washington.

"How would that happen? How does search work so that would occur?" Lofgren asked Pichai. The Google CEO –  who was at the hearing to address allegations of political bias in his company's widely used search engine –  said the results are based on billions of keywords ranked according to more than 200 factors such as relevance and popularity.

"So it's not some little man sitting behind the curtain figuring out what we're going to show the user?" Lofgren asked rhetorically. "It's basically a compilation of what users are generating."

 

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A Google image search for the word "idiot" by USA TODAY found that Trump was not the top result. That honor went to a copy of Evert Larock's painting, "The Idiot," which is linked to by Wikipedia. But Trump appeared in 13 of the top 17 results. A combination photo of Trump's sons Donald and Eric came in at No. 6.

Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.

In August, Trump said in a tweet that a Google search for "Trump News" showed only reports from "Fake News Media." He concluded it was "RIGGED" against him so "almost all stories & news is BAD."

"Illegal?" he wondered.    

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