CEO Sundar Pichai will not testify on Sept. 5 before the
Senate Intelligence Committee, according to reports.
the same day that President Trump slammed social media companies for
what he claimed was a bias against conservative media, a bipartisan
group of lawmakers went after Google’s CEO for refusing to testify
next week on Capitol Hill.
CEO Sundar Pichai drew widespread criticism from senators of
both parties after it was announced that he would not testify on
Sept. 5 before the Senate Intelligence Committee, but instead would
send Kent Walker, the company's senior vice president for
global affairs, to the hearing.
is the United States Senate, this is an important issue, and we
deserve to hear from the decision-makers, not the people who carry
out the decisions," said Sen. Angus King, a Maine independent who
caucuses with Democrats, according
Richard Burr, R-N.C., who chairs the committee, said that Walker was
not sufficiently high up in the tech company to provide testimony
before Congress, but backed away from issuing a subpoena for Pichai
don’t normally subpoena people to be part of the solution," Burr
said. "Google chooses not to participate and being part of the
solution. That’s a decision they made.”
CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl
Sandberg have confirmed that they will be in Washington for the
news of the bipartisan anger at Pichai’s declining to testify caps
off a rough day for Google, after Trump launched an attack on the
company with an early morning tweet accusing the tech giant’s search
engine of being biased against conservative media and promising that
the situation “will be addressed.”
reiterated his warning Tuesday afternoon in the Oval Office, saying
the companies are “taking advantage of people” and warning them to
better be careful because you can’t do that to people,” Trump told
reporters following a meeting with officials from FIFA. “Google,
Twitter and Facebook are treading on really troubled territory.”
has denied ranking results to "manipulate" political sentiment and
said the company constantly works on its algorithms to ensure users
get the highest quality content on the web.
users type queries into the Google Search bar, our goal is to make
sure they receive the most relevant answers in a matter of seconds,"
a Google spokesperson said in a statement. "Search is not used to
set a political agenda and we don't bias our results toward any
political ideology. Every year, we issue hundreds of improvements to
our algorithms to ensure they surface high-quality content in
response to users' queries. We continually work to improve Google
Search and we never rank search results to manipulate political
is the first time Trump raised the issue of Google search engine’s
alleged bias. Just weeks ago, Trump attacked other tech giants such
as Twitter and Facebook for silencing non-left wing voices, saying
“too many voices are being destroyed” and pledged to address the
and Twitter have been under fire for allegedly censoring
conservative and Republican accounts on their platforms, while
taking a more lenient approach to liberal and left-wing users.
president previously pointed to the problem of so-called “shadow
banning” on social media platforms, where users, while technically
not banned, found their posts invisible to most users.
Google query for "Trump News" Tuesday afternoon, following the
president’s remarks, showed stories from CNN, The New York Times,
Fox News and the Wall Street Journal, among others.
and some supporters have long accused Silicon Valley companies of
being biased against them. But, while some company executives may
lean liberal, they have long asserted that their products are
without political bias, and indeed no such bias has been proven.
didn't say what he based his tweets on. But in a blog post over the
weekend, conservative activist Paula Boylard had said she found
"blatant prioritization of left-leaning and anti-Trump media
outlets" in search results.
based her judgments on which media outlets were left- or
right-leaning on a list by Sharyl Attkisson, host of Sinclair
Television's "Full Measure" and author of "The Smear: How Shady
Political Operatives and Fake News Control What You See, Think, and
How You Vote." Sinclair is a significant outlet for conservative
News' Lukas Mikelionis, Bradford Betz and The Associated Press
contributed to this report.