Google CEO to testify before US House following bias accusations by conservatives

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai has agreed to testify later this year before the US House Judiciary Committee after Republicans stated concerns that the company was biased against conservatives, Reuters quoted government officials saying Friday.

The CEO will also attend a meeting with U.S President Donald Trump.

The questions will be based on whether the company’s search algorithms are influenced by human bias. Issues like privacy, classification of news and opinion and dealing with countries with human rights violations will also be looked into.

On Friday, Pichai met with White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow, White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters said, and the pair “discussed a range of issues impacting internet platforms and the economy in general.”

Pichai accepted an invitation to attend a White House roundtable with Trump and other internet stakeholders, the White House said.

Pichai met with senior Republican lawmakers on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said.

McCarthy told reporters after the meeting that the meeting was “very productive” and “frank.”

“I think we’ve really shown that there is bias, which is human nature, but you have to have transparency and fairness,” McCarthy said. “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.”

Meanwhile, Google had consistently denied the accusations of ‘bias against conservatives’.

Pichai said in a statement his talks with congressional leaders were constructive and informative and the company remained committed to an “active dialogue with members from both sides of the aisle.”

He said he would testify before the House Judiciary Committee “in due course.”

Last week, Pichai wrote an internal email which stated that ‘suggestions that Google would interfere in search results for political reasons were “absolutely false. We do not bias our products to favor any political agenda”‘, Reuters reported.

The hearing will take place after the congressional elections in November, McCarthy said.

Earlier, a leaked video showing Google executives trying to console employees after it was revealed that U.S President Donald Trump had won the election surfaced, leading many to point fingers at the company’s current political stance and to start investigations, The Washington Post reported.

Brad Parscale, Donald’s campaign manager said the company “needs to explain why this isn’t a threat to the Republic” and tweeted, “Congressional hearings! Investigate.”

Earlier, Trump slammed popular search engine Google on Twitter for rigging search results to only show negative reports regarding him. Google denied the claims.

Google’s spokesperson said its platform was not used to set a political agenda. “We do not bias our results toward any political ideology,” AFP reported. “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 sentiment.”

Trump’s economic advisor Larry Kudlow said the administration was looking into the president’s claims.

Earlier, after 300 U.S newspaper editorials targeted Trump on ‘sustained assault on free press’, Trump hit back on Twitter, saying that The Boston Globe was ‘in collusion with other papers on free press” and that many of the media are “pushing a political agenda.”

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