Shares of Google, Facebook and Twitter traded lower on Tuesday after President Trump accused the tech leaders of bias against conservative voices, warning they are “treading on very, very troubled territory.”
“Google is really taking advantage of a lot of people and I think that’s a very serious thing and a very serious charge,” Trump said after an Oval Office meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino. “I think what Google and what others are doing, if you look at what’s going on at Twitter, if you look at what’s going on at Facebook – they better be careful, because you can’t do that to people.”
“Google and Twitter and Facebook, they’re really treading on very, very troubled territory and they have to be careful. It’s not fair to large portions of the population,” Trump added, noting that his administration has “literally thousands and thousands of complaints coming in” about the tech companies’ practices.
Google and Twitter shares closed down about 1 percent, while Facebook shares ticked down 0.68 percent.
Trump’s remarks came hours after he singled out Google for criticism on his Twitter account, accusing the tech giant of limiting access to conservative media sources in favor of what he described as the “Fake News Media.” The president said the vast majority of search results on “Trump news” are from left-leaning news sources.
“Search is not used to set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any political ideology,” Google said in a statement earlier Tuesday. “Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in response to users' queries. We continually work to improve Google Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political sentiment."
A Twitter representative referred a request for comment on Trump’s remarks to public testimony from Nick Pickles, the company’s global lead for public policy strategy, who testified before Congress in July.
“Some critics have described the sum of all of this work as a banning of conservative voices. Let me make clear to the Committee today that these claims are unfounded and false,” Pickles said at the time.
Facebook did not immediately respond to a request for comment.