Trump Jr. Calls Out Instagram After His, President’s Accounts Vanish From Search Suggestions

September 19, 2019 Updated: September 19, 2019

Donald Trump Jr.., son of President Donald Trump, pointed out in a Sept. 18 Instagram post that his and his father’s accounts on the social media platform weren’t showing up in search suggestions.

“I’m sure this is totally a coincidence (like all the other total coincidences against conservative accounts),” Trump Jr. wrote.

Facebook, which owns Instagram, responded by saying it addressed the issue and was looking into what caused it, Breitbart reported.

What Happened

On Instagram, when users type text into the search bar, the site suggests a list of accounts and tags based on their relevance to the typed text, as well as the user’s prior searches and other activity on the site.

But when “donaldtrumpjr” was typed in, which is the exact name of his account, Trump Jr.’s account didn’t show up in the suggestions, despite having 1.9 million followers on the platform.

Trump Jr. said he tried “other variations” of his name, but his account still didn’t show up. In addition to that, his father’s account didn’t show up either, despite having 14.6 million followers and being named “realdonaldtrump.”

“A few friends pointed this out to me so I figured I’d reach out as it would seem odd to me that an account with almost 2[million] followers and The President Of The United States (because he has the same name) doesn’t show up in a search but a lot of accounts with virtually no followers do,” Trump Jr. wrote.

He added a screenshot documenting the phenomenon.

“I’m sure it’s totally an anomaly,” he wrote, encouraging the company “to do the right thing regarding this account and many others like it who may not buy fully into your left wing ideology.”

As of Sept. 19, both Trump’s and Trump Jr.’s accounts were appearing again in the search suggestions.

Bias

Conservatives have accused tech companies such as Facebook, Google, and Twitter of suppressing their voices by various means.

The companies have denied the accusations, claiming political neutrality. There’s a growing pile of evidence, however, showing otherwise.

All the companies, for instance, prohibit “hate speech,” a concept broadly adopted by the political left, but often shunned by the right, a 2017 Cato survey (pdf) showed.

An internal Facebook document described and partially leaked to Breitbart earlier this year indicated that ideology plays a role in the company’s decisions on what content to suppress.

It listed conservative activist Candace Owens as a person who should be investigated and indicated that Facebook employees were to look into what Owens is “known for,” including her “ideology, actions, major news, etc.”

A Facebook spokesperson didn’t respond to an earlier question on why it was relevant for Facebook to determine Owens’s ideology.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
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