Google CEO Sundar Pichai has been called upon to testify over allegations of bias against conservatives. Pichai has agreed to appear before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee later this year, and has also agreed to attend a meeting with US President Donald Trump, who incidentally, happens to be a republican.
Republicans have raised a series of questions that they want Pichai to answer. As the CEO of Google, which is something of a gateway to the World Wide Web for a significant portion of the population, Pichai wields significant clout. However, with great power comes great responsibility, which is why Pichai is being called upon to answer a spate of concerns rising from the who’s and who’s of US politics.
Republicans have voiced concerns that Google’s search algorithms may be influenced by human bias and may actually be working against them. Google has steadfastly refuted the possibility of any sort of bias in its algorithms. In fact, in an internal email sent out recently, Pichai said that any allegations that Google operated under any sort of bias were absolutely false.
Other items on the agenda of the lawmaker’s committee will include privacy, classification of news and opinion and dealing with countries with human rights violations.
On Friday, Pichai met with senior US lawmakers in an attempt to assuage these concerns. Some of the folks the Google CEO met included White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow, and majority leader Kevin McCarthy.
Terming the meeting as very productive, McCarthy said:
I think we’ve really shown that there is bias, which is human nature, but you have to have transparency and fairness. As big tech’s business grows, we have not had enough transparency and that has led to an erosion of trust and, perhaps worse, harm to consumers.
It’s not only republicans. Google recently attracted the ire of the democrats as well, for not sending representatives to a senate intelligence hearing that saw social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter in attendance.
The new regime has been pretty vocal about controlling the content that is delivered to users. As the most powerful search engine in existence, Google can be certain that it will have lawmakers scrutinizing its every move. What’s more, with an aggressive Trump at the helm, tech companies can’t afford to go on the wrong side of the government either.
If Zuckerberg’s session with the Senate intelligence committee are any indication, it should be interesting to see the kind of dialogue that takes place between Pichai and the lawmakers.
The hearing is expected to take place after the congressional elections in November.