Google says that it did promote President Donald Trump's State of the Union speech on its homepage in 2018, countering a video he tweeted alongside the hashtag #StopTheBias.
President Trump continued his accusations about Google's anti-conservative bias on Wednesday by tweeting a video that appeared to show how Google promoted former president Barack Obama's State of the Union Address on its homepage during his presidency, while skipping the same promotion for Trump's speeches in 2017 and 2018.
The President's latest statements reflect a broader view among conservatives that digital platforms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter are censoring them and as calls for regulation against those platforms heats up in government. However, experts tell CNBC that Trump's accusations may help weaken the arguments for regulation if they lack reason or data.
When asked about the apparent discrepancy highlighted in Trump's tweet, Google explained that Trump's inaugural speech in 2017 was not technically a State of the Union speech. Similarly, it did not promote Obama's inaugural speech on its homepage in 2009.
Google said that it did highlight President Trump's speech on its homepage January 30, 2018. Google's promotion doesn't appear on any of the archived versions of Google.com on the the website archive The Wayback Machine for that date. However, Twitter user @WrockBro points out the Wayback Machine does in fact include a Google promotion around 1 a.m. January 31. The discrepancy appears to be because the Wayback Machine uses Greenwich Mean Time, which is hours later than U.S. Eastern Time. So it appears that Google was advertising the live stream in the U.S. while it was happening after 9 p.m. Eastern.
There's no dispute that Google did in fact promote Obama's speeches in 2012 through 2016, based on images from The Wayback Machine.
Google's homepage is the number one most trafficked site on the web, according to Alexa.
Wednesday's tweet follows Trump's statements the day before that Google has "rigged" news story results to favor negative coverage about him from left-leaning outlets. That indictment appeared to be based on an unscientific report by a conservative news site.
Here are some examples of the Google home page on the dates when the State of the Union speeches happened.
The following screengrabs show what Google's homepage looked like on the dates of Obama's addresses in 2012 and 2016, respectively:
None of the handful of snapshots of Google's homepage currently archived on the Wayback Machine from the day of President Trump's 2018 speech feature a YouTube link.
However, the link is there on this screenshot dated the day after his speech:
Update: This story has been changed to reflect the fact that the Wayback Machine does include an archived snapshot showing that Google advertised President Trump's 2018 State of the Union speech, but it is dated one day later than the speech occurred.