Google's response has been that if workers have moral objections to working on the project, it will be glad to place them on a different team.
Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) did not disappoint.
Google does not choose conservative voices over liberal ones (and vice versa).
During the hearing, Pichai also had to answer questions about alleged bias in its search results, after President Donald Trump accused Google in August of rigging search results at the expense of Republican and conservative opinions. "The people who were here trying to rattle him weren't able to do it. Google came out unscathed".
Pictures of the USA president have consistently been turning up in Google search results for the word "idiot" since at least the summer of 2018.
Pichai said the company doesn't manually intervene on any particular search result. See, there is no partisan behind the curtain.
Google ran a censored version of its search engine in China from 2006 to 2010, but exited after the company said a cyber attack originating from China had targeted Google email accounts of dozens of Chinese human-rights activists.
Instead of focusing on the testimony of Pichai, chief executive of a monopolistic tech giant and the world's second most valuable company, Axios instead opted to scrutinize Pichai's scrutinizers.
Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai kicked off his first appearance before Congress Tuesday refuting claims of bias, explaining the company's privacy approach and stressing the company's American roots. He called for an independent third-party group to look into the matter.
Pichai disputed bias in the news search. Cicilline fired back that he was concerned about Google's "discriminatory approach in the marketplace" and stated his support for "structural antitrust" enforcement, meaning he favors breaking up anti-competitive monopoly power. Democrats, who will take over the committee in 2019, have also previously pushed Silicon Valley officials on concerns about their size, foreign countries' use of tech platforms to try to influence elections and a lack of workforce diversity. Google pulled out of China several years ago over the censorship issue.
"It's no coincidence that a company dedicated to the free flow of information was founded right here in the US", he said.
The hearing was crashed by longtime Trump crony Roger Stone and far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, who called Google "the most disgusting corporation on earth" to anyone in the halls willing to listen.
Gaetz, who's also criticized Twitter for allegedly "shadow banning" his account, pressed Pichai over what it would take for Google to investigate such allegations. Google may use data to personalize ads, but it doesn't sell the data, he added. Apparently resisting the urge to agree that there's no 'little man, ' Pichai went on to note that Google a year ago served over 3 trillion searches, a large percentage of which Google has never seen before.
During a separate exchange, Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pa., probed Pichai further on China.
These kinds of questions may not have caused any kind of live television revelation or spectacle from the soft-spoken Pichai.
In the middle of a congressional hearing ostensibly about privacy and data collection on Tuesday (Dec 11), Representative Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, apparently performed that search from the dais. These are areas where continued oversight and possibly privacy legislation could be done in a bipartisan fashion. "It is past time for Congress to step in and do its job".
Sebastian Murdock contributed reporting.
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