Google Under Fire Again on Search as US Senator Calls for FTC Probe

Google Under Fire Again on Search as US Senator Calls for FTC Probe

Google drew more complaints in Washington days after President Donald Trump attacked the search giant for being biased, as a top Republican lawmaker called for an antitrust investigation of the company.

Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, on Thursday asked Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joseph Simons to reexamine Google’s conduct in search and digital advertising, saying reports of potentially anticompetitive conduct are “disquieting.”

The move steps up pressure on Google after Trump lashed out at the company for what he claimed are rigged search results that favour liberal over conservative news outlets. The president also criticised Facebook and Twitter, joining a chorus of conservatives who claim Internet companies favour liberal viewpoints.

Google declined to comment on Hatch’s letter. After Trump’s attack this week, the company said its search function is not used to set a political agenda and isn’t biased against any ideology.

The decision to close the case, made under the administration of former President Barack Obama, disappointed some companies and consumer groups who claimed Google abused its dominance. The FTC is now led by Simons, who has expressed a willingness to examine the conduct of technology platforms.

“In the past, Google has offered arguments that its conduct is procompetitive,” Hatch wrote. “But much has changed since the FTC last looked at Google’s conduct regarding search and digital advertising.”