On Wednesday, Donald Trump escalated his war with major US technology companies He and other prominent conservatives have, without reason, been accused of censoring rights. In a video with an ominous soundtrack posted on his Twitter account, the president's team accused the search giant Google of showing links to live streams of former US President Barack Obama's addresses, but not his.
The video seems to have come from an Internet archiving service like the Wayback Machine selected by Internet.org, the Google homepage shows links to the live streams of Obama's State of the Union below the main search bar of the years 2012-2016. In the years 2017 and 2018, the first two Trump terms, the video seems to clearly show the links to his homonymous speeches.
Spoiler: Google says that's not true. According to a company spokesperson, in 2017 they were not connected to Trump's speech before the congress, nor to Obama's first meeting in 2009. That's because those first-year speeches are often referred to as "state of the world" Union events in popular parlance, they are formally only addresses before Congress.
In 2018, Google said that the connection actually existed:
On January 30, 2018, we streamed the livestream of President Trump's state to the google.com homepage. In the past, we did not promote the first address of the new president to the Congress, which is technically not a State of the Union speech. As a result, we did not show ads for this address on google.com in 2009 or 2017.
Gizmodo asked Google for a screenshot of the homepage with the link. However, in reply to requests from other media organizations, the search giant posted a post from the subreddit for Trump's backer, r / The_Donald, dated January 31, 2018. This post clearly shows the Google homepage with a link to read: "Live! Watch President Trump's State of the Nation address on YouTube."
Ockham's Razor is that the White House has been arbitrarily searching for results from the Wayback machine, which has only a standard Google landing page for the data in question or the like. But the Wayback Machine does not necessarily seem to have archived the version of the Google homepage that was shown to all users. For example, his Google.com archive on January 29, 2018, shows a standard company logo, although the company's website lists a Google Doodle commemorating the 65th birthday of pop singer Teresa Teng.
Whoever did that research for the president could just have been wrong. However, speeches on the situation of the Union and joint speeches are among the events with the highest attention of any Presidency. The claim that Trump's communications staff did not notice an omission of this magnitude until now, when the president is in the middle of an anti-Silicon Valley kick, falls within the bounds of credibility. (Several entries in Google's official blog show that the search giant agreed with the White House on weekly content in the Obama era.)
In other words, the president thinks you're all idiots. News at 11.
Update, 19:38 ET: Incidentally, Trump has pasted this video to the top of his Twitter account, meaning it's the first thing that millions of visitors in his See profile see
Update, 20:10 ET: As reported by Gizmodo's commentator Daz, there is another big discrepancy in Trump's video. The portion of the clip that displays an alleged screenshot of the Google homepage from 2016 shows this version of the search company's logo:
But that's not how Google's homepage looked on the date in question. Google has updated its logo in September 2015 to a version with a sans-serif font that looks like this:
This version of the Google logo can be unique in the archived version of the site's home page on January 8, 2016, days before the screenshot allegedly captured in Trump's video
In other words, it looks as if at least one of Trump's screenshots is sloppily corrupted. We repeat: The president thinks you are all idiots.