Google CEO Heads to Congress This Week
Google’s Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will meet with top Republican lawmakers Friday to address the GOP’s continued criticism that major tech platforms and social media sites are censoring conservatives online. The 46-year-old native of India will also discuss the company’s controversial test of a mobile version of its search engine that would adhere to China’s strict controls over content. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who is organizing Friday’s meeting, has complained that Google works with China but has canceled a contract with the U.S. military. Google declined to renew a contract with the Department of Defense over employee concerns about aiding military projects. McCarthy, who is aiming to help preserve the GOP’s House majority and become Speaker, has fanned the flames as conservative voters appear to be focusing more on the issue of alleged political bias. He was mocked in August after complaining that Twitter was censoring conservative voices after he shared a screenshot of a tweet from Fox News host Laura Ingraham that was covered by a warning of “potentially sensitive content.” Turns out the tweet was covered up due to settings in McCarthy’s own Twitter account, not because of a company campaign to silence conservative voices. Evidence for anti-conservative bias remains unclear. The WSJ points out that allegations of anti-conservative bias also could help divert attention from Russian meddling in the 2016 election that appeared to use tech platforms such as Facebook to manipulate public opinion and support Trump. Friday’s meeting with lawmakers comes weeks after Pichai and Larry Page, the CEO of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, each declined to appear at a hearing focused on the 2018 election -- a move that angered both Republicans and Democrats. “I look forward to meeting with members on both sides of the aisle, answering a wide range of questions, and explaining our approach,” Pichai said in a statement Monday. “These meetings will continue Google’s long history of engaging with Congress, including testifying seven times to Congress this year.” More here.