Google the word “idiot.”
The first image that pops up is a picture of President Donald Trump. So is the second. And the third. And the fourth. Even as you continue to scroll down the page, Trump’s face appears with unusual regularity.
The phenomenon started naturally when British protestors pushed Green Day’s hit song “American Idiot” to the top of U.K. charts during the week of Trump’s visit. But then, Reddit users started purposely trying to manipulate Google’s algorithm by posting articles that contain pictures of Trump and the word “idiot.”
It’s a tactic called “Google bombing” that builds a false relationship in the search engine database.
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but the search results could fuel Republicans' accusations of bias against their party from Google and Silicon Valley as a whole.
At the end of May, Google listed “Nazism” as part of the ideology of the Republican Party — less than a week before the state’s primary elections — because of Wikipedia vandalism the search engine failed to catch. And during several Congressional hearings about the effect of Big Tech, especially Facebook, on the 2016 election, Republicans have relentlessly questioned executives about silencing the voices of the Right through their algorithms and policies.
Although little hard evidence exists that the companies discriminate against conservatives, tech executives appeared before Congress just two days ago to apologize to Diamond & Silk, the Trump-supporting sisters who’ve become a symbol of the perceived bias. After months of declining engagement online, Facebook mistakenly sent the duo a message calling them “unsafe for the community.”
As for Trump, he’s not the first president to fall victim to Internet users’ cheeky behavior. In 2003, a search for “miserable failure” highlighted pictures of George W. Bush, Wired reported.
Cover image: President Donald Trump speaks before signing the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2018, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 12, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)