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Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before Congress

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai gives testimony in the House of Representatives.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai gives testimony in the House of Representatives.

Image: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The head of a tech giant is on the Congressional hot seat again.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday morning. The hearing, titled Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices, focused on a range of issues, including: allegations of anti-conservative bias, data collection, and a censored search engine in China. 

Conservative representatives hammered on allegations of anti-conservative bias, which Pichai refuted. Other issues included the Google Plus data breach, Russian manipulation of the platform, and even how search fundamentally works.

“We bring choice, transparency, and control to our users,” Pichai said. “These values are built into all of our products.”

Pichai was categorical when faced with the allegation that Google Search favors liberal content.

“Our algorithms have no notion of political sentiment,” Pichai said.

Conservative representatives cited one study in particular that said that Google Search’s political bias swayed voters in favor of Hillary Clinton. Pichai said that Google took issue with that study’s methodology, and refuted its results. Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, replied: “What does methodology have to do with the fact that 96 percent of search results were from liberal sources?”

Pichai echoed the sentiment again and again that Google does not manipulate its algorithm based on political bias. Representatives were not satisfied with his remarks.

“Somebody out there is doing something,” Ohio Republican Steve Chabot said. “I think it’s happening.”

Beyond allegations of bias, questions were far reaching. When Rep. Jackson Lee asked Pichai about the planned Chinese search engine and how it would impact human rights, Pichai said that Google had no plans to launch a search product in China.

“Right now we have no plans to launch in China, Pichai said. “We don’t have a search product there. Getting access to information is an important human right. But right now there are no plans to launch search in China.”

Pichai previously confirmed plans for its Chinese search engine, which has sparked widespread opposition.

This story is developing…

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