According to sources that spoke exclusively to CNET and the Washington Post, Google CEO Sundar Pichai is headed to Washington to testify before Congress on December 5th. Pichai will speak directly and field questions from the House of Judiciary Committee about the reported political bias in Google search results.
Pichai skipped a high-profile tech hearing earlier in September that included Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. This means that this will be Pichai’s first congressional hearing after the initial furore that ensued after he failed to attend this previous meeting.
Google has faced a wave of criticism over this incident, even more so after Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress earlier this year. This hearing will likely focus on the supposed political bias and silencing of right-leaning news outlets — despite there being no evidence of this and Google denying these accusations.
As recently as August, President Donald Trump directly accused Google of political bias and having a liberal bent. He tweeted that he believes Google’s search results to be “rigged.” He has even gone on to say that the company is “suppressing voices of Conservatives.”
Google has also come under scrutiny for Project Dragonfly from its own employees, which will no doubt come to the fore during Pichai’s Congressional hearing. Although Pichai himself has said that Google is “always balancing a set of values” when it enters a new country. He has gone as far as to say that Project Dragonfly is an “internal project” and that the company is “not close” to launching a search product in China.
Not only that, but the recent Google Walkout in wake of Google’s poor handling of sexual misconduct cases was front-and-center in recent weeks. This led to Pichai making yet another public announcement to apologize to Googlers over the incident.
We’re sure that this hearing will help build bridges with the federal government. Pichai reportedly held closed-door meetings with US lawmakers including Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, in September.
Read more on Google:
- Googlers call on Google to cancel Dragonfly and not aid oppression, state surveillance
- Google hit with $5 billion EU anti-trust fine over Android, company set to appeal
- Google facing legal action in Europe as well as the US for tracking phone locations