The current presidential candidate for the Republican Party, Donald Trump, recently claimed that Facebook, Google, and Twitter are intentionally withholding content about the FBI’s criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton.
Mr. Trump made no further attempts to present any evidence on the matter or elaborate these allegations on following tweets but brought up the Democrats’ earlier praising of FBI Director James Comey. However, his accusation is overshadowed by his previous claims.
Trump’s tweet has garnered more than 30,000 retweets and 60,000 likes from his following but has also spawned a significant number of media responses which seek to counter his claims.
Wow, Twitter, Google and Facebook are burying the FBI criminal investigation of Clinton. Very dishonest media!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 30, 2016
Could Trump be right about Clinton’s media coverage?
CNET reported the Clinton emails became a trending topic on Twitter over the weekend and that the ongoing FBI investigation had been at the top of the first page in Google News on Sunday. The Trump campaign did not respond to his request for evidence.
The report added it was hard to ascertain whether Facebook could have or have not done anything resembling what Mr. Trump is claiming given that its users personalize their feeds and receive news catered to their browsing habits.
Curiously, none of the companies the Republican Candidate mentioned have come forward to deny the claims.
Can Google remove information from its search engine?
Google News has options that allow users to request the removal of certain content from its search results and Google Search also has this feature.
With that in mind, Clinton sympathizers might have asked Google to remove the information. But even if they did, the news about Hillary Clinton’s email scandal were all over the news.
Both News and Search encourage users to file individual reports on content they want to remove from the website, but they require interested parties to contact site owners beforehand and will only act on a complaint if it fits with their Removal Policies.
Can Facebook and Twitter hide information?
Facebook will only remove content from the website that goes against their Community Standards which are, notably, undergoing major changes.
Twitter’s case is similar. Other factors like Google Penalties, which bring down a website in the search results due to various reasons, could cause a particular event to disappear.
Media outlet Mashable received a statement from Google News in which they reiterated the company did not change stories’ rankings to influence user opinion, nor rankings related in any way to political candidates.
Is Trump’s accusation just another one of his far-fetched claims?
Google has been accused of removing content to help political parties in the past secretly. But every year, the company releases a Transparency Report. It shows who asked for information removal, why, and whether the petition was accepted.
Facebook is known to keep tabs on what its users do. It is important to avoid unpleasant content from showing the newsfeed, but it is also indisputable proof the company could intentionally take certain posts down. Twitter has also banned many accounts in the past for various reasons.
In conclusion, Donald Trump’s accusation cannot survive a simple Google research. However, the claim is not that far-fetched because Google, Facebook, and Twitter have mechanisms to block specific content from showing on their platforms.