Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) grilled a Google representative about the Silicon Valley giant’s political bias Tuesday during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing.
Sen. Cruz grilled Google representative Maggie Stanphill during a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday on how social media companies’ algorithms and machine-learning influence the public discourse.
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) also chided Facebook on their “suggested follows” bias during the hearing.
The Senate hearing arises as a Project Veritas video revealed that Jen Gennai, a top executive at Google, discussed how they might prevent the next Donald Trump from getting elected.
Sen. Cruz said that Google and other social media companies received enhanced legal immunity through Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act with the understanding that they would act as neutral platforms. Cruz explained:
A lot of Americans have concerns that big tech media companies and Google in particular, are engagedin political censorship and bias. As you know, Google enjoys a special from liability under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The predicate for that immunity was that Google and other big tech media companies would be neutral public fora.
The Texas conservative asked Stanphill, “Does Google consider itself a neutral public forum?”
Stanphill replied, “Thank you, senator, yes it does.”
Cruz then referenced Gennai’s comments. Gennai said:
Elizabeth Warren is saying we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better it will make it worse, because all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation, it’s like a small company cannot do that.
Stanphill claimed that she does not agree with Gennai’s statement.
A Google insider that spoke to Project Veritas claimed that the search engine giant is “a highly biased political machine that is bent on never letting somebody like Donald Trump come to power again.”
Stanphill then said that she does not “think that’s Google’s job.”
Sen. Cruz then asks if she knows a single senior Google executive that voted for Trump in 2016.
“I definitely don’t know,” she said.
Sen. Cruz then asked Stanphill if she knows how much money Google employees gave to Hillary in 2016 compared to Trump. Cruz said that Google gave Clinton over $1.3 million in 2016, whereas Google gave Trump, “zero dollars and zero cents.”
Cruz then referenced the Veritas report, which said in which one Google employee proposed “that we make machine learning intentionally human-centered and intervene for fairness.”
“Well, I think these documents raise very serious questions about political bias at the company,” Cruz said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.