Sundar Pichai Testifies: The 5 Best Challenges Posed to Google’s CEO

Sundar Pichai sworn in
Alex Wong/Getty

Several Republican congressmen stood out during Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, Tuesday.

Breitbart News has pulled from its extensive coverage of the Google hearing in order to present the five best GOP representatives to question CEO Sundar Pichai on topics ranging from political bias to the tech giant’s reliance on Wikipedia.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) questioned Pichai over Google’s political bias, citing the recent Breitbart News exclusive report which revealed a group of Google employees attempting to take down Breitbart News’ advertising.

In their back-and-forth discussion, Gaetz repeatedly grilled Pichai, and asked questions like, “There is talk of suppressing conservative speech [by employees in Google], why wouldn’t that be something you would launch an internal investigation in, publish those reports, sanction those employees that may or may not engaged in proper conduct so we can all be involved in the experience?”

“How can I have confidence that you’re protecting the sanctity of your system when you don’t even know your employees are getting together on your own company’s infrastructure to talk about political activity?” declared Gaetz after Pichai admitted that he hadn’t looked into the anti-conservative group.

You can read the full transcript between Gaetz and Pichai here.

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)

Rep. Jim Jordan’s (R-OH) questions about Google’s efforts to boost the Latino vote in “key states” prompted Pichai to deny the company having done so, despite the fact that it has been proven through leaked emails.

As reported by Breitbart Tech Senior Reporter Allum Bokhari, “Google CEO Sundar Pichai repeatedly denied that the platforms used features and donations to turn out Latino voters in ‘key states’ in 2016, despite the existence of leaked emails from its head of multicultural marketing claiming the contrary.”

Pichai, who was testifying under oath before the House Judiciary Committee, repeatedly told Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) that the detailed description of voter turnout efforts in the leaked emails was not correct.

Rep. Jordan highlighted two lines from the emails, in which Google’s head of multicultural marketing, Eliana Murillo, described Google’s get-out-the-vote efforts.

“We pushed to get out the Latino vote with our features in key states.”

“We supported partners like Voto Latino to pay for rides to the polls in key states.”

Pichai says “we are very concerned whenever there are allegations like that –” but Jordan interrupted and directed him to answer the question, whether “we” in both of Murillo’s sentences refers to the company Google.

Extraordinarily – particularly given that he was under oath – the Google CEO denied it.

“As Google we wouldn’t participate in any partisan efforts around any civic process, so I don’t think so.”

The statement is significant for two reasons – firstly because the statement is clearly false. Murillo’s email, which Breitbart News published in full earlier this year, clearly refers to efforts by Google to boost Latino turnout in key states.

Secondly, Pichai concedes that such activities would be a “partisan” activity. So, once it can be shown that Murillo wasn’t lying, Pichai has no way to claim that the get-out-the-vote efforts were non-partisan.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX)

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) made several good points during Pichai’s hearing, highlighting a report from Dr. Robert Epstein on Google’s ability to swing votes and report from PJ Media about the dominance of liberal media outlets in search results over conservative sources.

During the conversation between Smith and Pichai, the Google CEO denied any bias, dodged questions, and claimed human employees are unable to manipulate algorithms.

“Google has revolutionized the world, though not entirely in the way I expected. Americans deserve the facts objectively reported,” declared Rep. Smith. “The muting of conservative voices by platforms has intensified, especially during the presidency of Donald Trump. More than 90 percent of all Internet searches take place on Google or its subsidiary YouTube, and they are curating what we see.”

Smith continued:

Google has long faced criticism for manipulating search results to censor conservatives. Conservative individuals and organizations have had their pro-Trump content tagged as ‘hate speech,’ or had their content reduced in search results. An enforcement of immigration laws has been tagged as hate speech as well. Such actions pose a grave threat to our democratic forum of government… PJ Media found that 96 percent of search results for Trump were from liberal media outlets. In fact, not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results. This doesn’t happen by accident, but is baked into the algorithms. Those who write the algorithms get the results they must want, and apparently, management allows it. Dr. Robert Epstein, a Harvard-trained psycologist authored a study recently that showed Google’s bias likely swung 2.6 million votes to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. Google could well elect the next president with dire implications for our democracy. This should be a real concern to all but the most politically partisan. Those at the top set the tone. It will require a Herculean effort by the Chief Executive and senior management to change the political bias now programmed into the company’s culture.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) also brought up a number of vital issues during the hearing, including Google’s preferential treatment of information from Wikipedia — an unreliable source of information.

Gohmert criticized Google for placing unreliable information from Wikipedia at the top of most search results in its own special panel, and criticized Google subsidiary YouTube’s partnership with the far-left Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), arguing that Google should be held liable when false information by the two is made.

“[Wikipedia] get a trusted spot, and when Wikipedia slanders or libels someone, and you’re the one that has trusted them above any other entity, you ought to be liable,” declared Gohmert. “I encourage you to look around and notice you run off conservatives, you embrace liberals, and it’s time Google was actually not immune so that people can hold you accountable.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) questioned Pichai on the search giant’s algorithmic bias against conservatives.

“There is a very strong conviction on this side of the aisle that the algorithms are written with a bias against conservatives,” declared King. “What we don’t know are who are these thousand people [working at Google] and we don’t know what their social media looks like.”

“We have at least theoretically a built-in bias that’s here, it’s not being examined and not examining the social media,” he continued. “How would you expect that you can get to an objective result?”

Charlie Nash is a reporter for Breitbart Tech. You can follow him on Twitter @MrNashington, or like his page at Facebook.

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