WASHINGTON: Google boss Sundar Pichai is in Capitol Hill this week to ask questions from Republican MPs who blame the company for bias against the Conservatives and raised a lot of other concerns.
Major Kevin McCarthy, a Republican who has repeatedly criticized Google, holds a meeting of more than two dozen Republican MPs with Pichai on Friday.
“Google has a lot of questions about bias messages in its search results, user privacy violations, anticompetitive behavior, and repressive regime operations like China,” McCarthy said in a statement.
Pichai will also meet White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Friday to discuss national and international issues, a White House official said.
Republicans want Google, the search engine of Alphabet Inc., to ask if their search algorithms are influenced by human prejudice. They also want to examine privacy concerns, dominant positions, information and opinion polls in countries where human rights are violated.
In a statement, Pichai said he plans to meet Democrats and Republicans “to answer a wide range of questions and explain our approach.”
Last week Pichai wrote in an internal e-mail that suggestions that Google would intervene in the search results for political reasons were “completely wrong, we do not distort our products to promote a political agenda.”
On September 20, the Wall Street Journal, citing internal emails, reported that Google employees had found ways to change search capabilities to counteract Trump’s controversial travel ban in 2017. The Journal said Google had not implemented the ideas that had been discussed.
Google was criticized for refusing to send a high-ranking official to a Senate Intelligence Committee meeting on September 5 to combat foreign influence in elections and political speeches in the United States. The chief operating officer of Facebook and the general director of Twitter testified at the hearing, where a vacant chairman was appointed to Google after the panel rejected the testimony of Google’s senior lawyer.
Pichai will meet with Nancy Pelosi, leader of the Democratic minority in the House of Representatives, on Thursday.
Google has been confronted with legal issues to get its search engine back online in China. Google described his “job search” for China as “exploratory” and “not just coming”.
McCarthy said the House Judiciary Committee is planning a post-election hearing with Google in November.
Google’s privacy officer testified on Wednesday in front of a Senate panel and testified that the company admitted it had “made mistakes” in the past.
Earlier this week, the Department of Justice met with advocates-general to emphasize the need to protect consumer privacy when large technology companies collect large amounts of data without drawing immediate conclusions, Reuters reported.