Trump was apparently referring to the work of Robert Epstein, a researcher with the California-based American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology. Epstein had testified in a Senate hearing in June that his research shows Google’s search results pushed at least 2.6 million people to vote for Clinton in 2016. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked about Epstein’s work last year when he testified before a House panel and said the company had investigated it and pointed to issues with the study’s methodology.
In a statement on Monday, a Google spokesperson called Epstein’s claim “debunked”, pointing out it has been circulating for three years.”This researcher’s inaccurate claim has been debunked since it was made in 2016,” the spokesperson said. “As we stated then, we have never re-ranked or altered search results to manipulate political sentiment. Our goal is to always provide people with access to high quality, relevant information for their queries, without regard to political viewpoint,” the spokesperson said. In 2017, Google dismissed Epstein’s research as “nothing more than a poorly constructed conspiracy theory”.