U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) condemned Google for refusing to send a senior representative to the committee’s hearing on foreign interference online.
Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg were both present at the hearing on Wednesday to represent their companies, while a chair for Google remained empty.
“Sheryl and Jack, I’m glad you decided to appear, and your willingness to be part of the solution. I’m disappointed Google decided against sending the right senior level executive to participate in what I truly expect to be a productive discussion,” declared Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC). “If the answer is regulation, let’s have an honest dialogue about what that looks like. If the key is more resources, or legislation that facilitates information sharing and government cooperation, let’s get it out there.”
In his own statement, Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-VA) claimed to be “deeply disappointed” in Google, who opted to avoid “difficult questions about structural vulnerabilities” in their platforms.
“As the Chairman pointed out today, this is an important public discussion. I’m pleased that both Facebook and Twitter have sent their companies’ top leadership to address some of the critical public policy challenges. I look forward to a constructive engagement,” proclaimed Warner. “I have to say though I’m deeply disappointed that Google, one of the most influential digital platforms in the world, chose not to send its own top corporate leadership to engage this committee.”
“Because I know our members have a series of difficult questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google’s platforms that we will need answers for. From Google Search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies, to YouTube where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos, to Gmail where state-sponsored operatives attempted countless hacking attempts,” he continued. “Google has an immense responsibility in this space. Given its size and influence, I would’ve thought that leadership at Google would’ve wanted to demonstrate how seriously it takes these challenges and actually take a leadership in this important discussion. Unfortunately they didn’t choose to make that decision.”