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Image credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Trump still thinks Google suppresses negative Clinton searches

It doesn't, Donald. It just doesn't.
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Reuters/Jonathan Ernst

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has never let the truth get in the way of an angry rant. So it goes with this week's conspiracy theory of choice. At a rally in Wisconsin last night, Trump boasted that a "Google poll" showed he won Monday night's debate over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Google's search engine is biased against him.

"A new post-debate poll, the Google poll, has us leading Hillary Clinton by two points nationwide," Trump said (as reported by the Washington Post), "and that's despite the fact that Google search engine was suppressing the bad news about Hillary Clinton. How about that."

Of course, this isn't the first time we've heard these claims -- in June, a video went around claiming that Google's autocomplete results for Donald Trump skewed negative, while searching for Hillary Clinton didn't do the same. The crux of that argument was that searching for "Donald Trump rac" would suggest "Donald Trump racist," but searching for "Hillary Clinton cri" didn't suggest "Hillary Clinton criminal" or "Hillary Clinton crimes."

Google quickly responded with details on how autocomplete works. "The autocomplete algorithm is designed to avoid completing a search for a person's name with terms that are offensive or disparaging," the company wrote. "We made this change a while ago following feedback that Autocomplete too often predicted offensive, hurtful or inappropriate queries about people."

Crimes or criminal are two words that are filtered out of autocomplete -- you get the same result regardless of who you search for. Searching for "Ted Kaczynski cri" doesn't add crimes or criminal to autocomplete, same as when you search for Hillary Clinton.

However, Trump has proven to be all about claiming the scales are tipped unfairly in his favor, so it's not surprising to see him trot out this tired old claim again. And it's a bit of a stretch to think he'd understand how autocomplete works, even if he read Google's blog post. Maybe his 10-year-old son, who's so good at cyber, can help him out.

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