By Evie Fordham
Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 5 to answer questions about the company’s possible political bias, the committee announced.
“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honor freedom of speech and champion open dialogue, and it is Congress’ responsibility to the American people to make sure these tech giants are transparent and accountable in their practices,” committee chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said in a committee press release.
Republican lawmakers criticized Pichai for skipping a Sept. 5 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on social media and foreign election meddling. Facebook and Twitter executives testified, and an empty chair with a nameplate that said “Google” sat where the company’s representative would have been.
The announcement of the social media-focused hearing comes as Google employees are making headlines for a Tuesday open letter protesting the company’s work on a censored Chinese search engine.
“Today the company accounts for nearly 90 percent of worldwide search traffic. … Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially,” committee member and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said in the press release.
“Its business practices may have been affected by political bias. Additionally, reports claim the company is compromising its core principles by complying with repressive censorship mandates from China,” McCarthy continued.
President Donald Trump accused Google of bias against conservatives, including an Aug. 28 tweet calling Google search results “rigged.”
Google had been willing to send senior vice president of global affairs Kent Walker to the Sept. 5 Senate hearing, but the committee said no, reported Politico. Walker submitted roughly five pages of written testimony to the committee despite the rejection.
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