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Trump not signing executive order on Google and Facebook bias probe

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President Donald Trump.
White House officials seem
unsure of the document’s origin.

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  • White House officials have distanced themselves from a
    leaked draft of an executive order, calling on federal agencies
    to investigate online platforms on the grounds of bias and
    antitrust.
  • Dep­u­ty White House press sec­re­tar­y Lind­say
    Walters and other officials told
    The Washington Post reports
    that the leaked document,
    obtained by Business
    Insider
    , is not official policy.
  • Officials told the Post that the draft was first
    brought to their attention by Yelp Seni­or Vice President for
    Pol­icy Luther Lowe — a staunch critic of Google.
  • US President Donald Trump has attacked Google and
    Twitter over a perceived liberal bias in recent weeks, while he
    also hinted

    at a “very antitrust” situation at
    Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

White House officials are distancing themselves from
a drafted executive order that circulated last week
which
outlined a potential investigation into “online platform bias.”

The leaked document focused on political bias at big tech
companies and potential antitrust violations. This comes after US

President Donald Trump accused Google of having an
anti-conservative bias
last month, and later hinted that

Facebook, Amazon, and Google could be a “very antitrust”
situation
.

The leaked order added to mounting pressure on big tech firms,
who are under scrutiny on the subjects of bias and antitrust.

Congress grilled CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg
on political bias in early September
, and
US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is open to the possibility of
investigating Silicon Valley firms
.

But the draft order is not going to become formal policy any time
soon, The
Washington Post reports.
Three White House aides told the
newspaper that they didn’t write the order, nor did they know
where it came from. They also found the policy to be
“unworkable,” according to the Post.

Another senior White House official told the Post that they had
seen the document circulating, but that it had not gone through a
formal process.

Dep­u­ty White House press sec­re­tar­y Lind­say Walters echoed
this on Saturday, telling the Post: “Al­though the White House is
con­cerned a­bout the con­duct of online plat­forms and their
im­pact on soci­ety, this docu­ment is not the re­sult of an
of­fi­cial White House policymaking proc­ess”

The draft order asked that agencies submit findings and
recommendations against tech companies to the National Economic
Council. Aides told the Post that no one at the National Economic
Council wrote the document, and didn’t know of its provenance.
The Office of Science and Technology Policy was also unaware of
where the order came from, according to anonymous sources.

The Post further reports that many within the department first
heard of the document from the review site, Yelp. Yelp Seni­or
Vice President for Pol­icy Luther Lowe reportedly contacted White
House aides with the document in September, and declined to
comment on whether he wrote or com­mis­sioned the ex­ec­u­tive
ord­er.


Yelp has been openly critical of Google in the past
, and Lowe
told the Post that Google entrenched deliberate bias in its
search results “for their own com­pe­ti­tive benefit.”

Get the latest Google stock price here.

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