WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump, who has accused Google's search engine of being biased against conservatives, is planning to host a conference with executives of internet companies, his senior economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, told reporters.
The meeting could take place as early as the middle of this month, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.
"We're going to have a little conference – the president will preside over it – we will have big internet companies, big social media companies, search companies," Kudlow said.
Kudlow said the meeting would include "some who are dissatisfied" with Internet companies, though he did not specify whom.
Kudlow in August said that the White House was considering new regulations on Google's search engine to address Trump's concern that it turns up too many stories that are critical of him.
Trump had expressed frustration on Twitter that when Americans type “Trump news” into the Google search engine, it generates mostly negative news about him while conservative media is "shut out."
"In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD," the president wrote on Twitter in August.
Kudlow said he spoke recently with Google CEO Sundar Pichai and he committed to the White House meeting. The White House also hopes to include other companies such as Facebook and Twitter, Kudlow said.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee in November to address concerns over the internet giant's business practices.
Trump and his aides have expressed sympathy for conservative commentators who contend some of their views are blocked, given less prominence or otherwise discriminated against on the internet.
Internet companies said they do not rank search content based on political philosophy. Some Democratic lawmakers say proposals by Trump and congressional Republicans to regulate search engines could amount to trying to curb free speech.
Brad Moss, a national security lawyer familiar with internet issues, said the conservative complaints "might have some marginal legitimacy," but they are "being hyped way out of proportion" by various media personalities.
"Given the immense amount of online exposure these various conservative media personalities and outlets still enjoy on many of these same platforms, it appears rather difficult to simultaneously conclude there is a plot to undermine them," Moss said.
As for Trump, Moss said the president is trying to be a "savior" for conservative allies: "With the midterms coming up soon, anything he can do to stoke the conservative base is a win-win for him."