Eric Trump, presumably hoping to amplify his father’s discourse about the perils of the “left-wing mob,” tweeted on Tuesday that Google’s image search function was manipulating Americans by bringing up pictures of an anime character in response to searches for the word “mob.”
The third child of President Donald Trump argued that other search engines, such as Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, were showing the proper results.
The deadpan-faced character highlighted in Google’s search results is Shigeo Kageyama, the protagonist of the anime series “Mob Psycho 100.” Nicknamed “Mob” — Japanese slang for an unassuming background character — Kageyama secretly possesses psychic powers, and the series has been a hit among anime fans worldwide.
This popularity might explain the results of Trump’s search, which was replicated by HuffPost with the same results. Google’s website explains that its searches “look at many factors, including the words of your query, relevance and usability of pages, expertise of sources, and your location and settings.”
The site also mentions that searches are optimized with “freshness algorithms” which are designed to offer the most up-to-date information on a particular keyword — indicating that anime fans searching for “Mob Psycho 100” content in recent years may have caused Google’s algorithms to return images of the titular character under a search for the word “mob,” at least for now.
Twitter users were quick to chuckle at Trump’s conspiracy theory. Some pointed out the quirks of Google Images — for instance, a search of the phrase “One Piece” revealing art of the Japanese anime franchise of the same name rather than bathing suits. Others joked that anime has to be banned, considering the Trump administration has frequently equated the word “mob” with lawlessness it says is orchestrated by Democrats.
To be honest, Google may be manipulating search results because it is indeed weird that Mob Psycho 100 shows up in Google Images rather than the Trump crime family.
— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) September 8, 2020
To think so many are breaking the law, watching anime. Anime, which Our Great President outlawed
— rors (@FallenRori) September 8, 2020
Meh, it’s just Google promoting Mob Psycho 100. Nothing special or manipulative, to say the least.
— Ceo of ShutTheFuckUp (@ilventonero) September 8, 2020
idk man “the son of the president claiming that search results for a character from mob psycho 100 are a political media coverup by google” wasnt on my 2020 bingo
— kia (@PRIMAGIRIS) September 8, 2020
Googling influencing your mind to watch Mob Psycho 100 is just doing you a favor to be honest. You’ll probably come out of it a better person.
— Foo Fighters Appreciation Squad (@majorly_ocelot) September 8, 2020
Google is trying to manipulate Americans into watching Mob Psycho 100? AS IT SHOULD BE
— Lazee (@Lazeesheep) September 8, 2020
Eric Trump having a paranoid meltdown bc Mob Psycho 100, the best anime ever, is more popular than stock photos of crowds on goggle images https://t.co/cOJ0bVYu5X
— bikegoth (@bikegoth) September 8, 2020
As “Mob Psycho 100” began trending on social media, the anime’s official Twitter account took the incident in stride.
This is Eric Trump’s second major Twitter gaffe this week. On Labor Day, Trump attempted to criticize Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden for hosting a “low energy and awkward” event in Lancaster, Pennsylvania — only drawing ire from commenters who were quick to point out that, unlike Donald Trump’s rallies, everyone with Biden was wearing a mask and observing social distancing recommendations.