Google CEO Sundar Pichai is headed to Capitol Hill amid concerns about privacy, suspicion about his company’s relationship with China, and allegations that the search engine suppresses conservative voices.
On Friday, Pichai will meet privately with Republican lawmakers, and he plans to testify before a House Judiciary Committee hearing after the election in November. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Pichai emphasized Google’s “long history of engaging with Congress, including testifying seven times to Congress this year.”
The announcement of the meeting comes days after accusations emerged that Google was intentionally promoting anti-Islamophobic content and under the cloud of a leaked video of Google employees lamenting President Donald Trump 2016 presidential victory. It also follows lawmakers’ fierce criticism of Google for missing a hearing on Russian meddling in the 2016 election that Facebook and Twitter executives attended, and take place amid Trump’s new tech-oriented antitrust campaign.
The GOP’s umbrage at Google’s recent behavior may also be an attempt to turn attention away from Russia’s alleged pro-conservative meddling in the 2016 election, which was carried out on platforms like Google and Facebook. Russia also recently tried to turn the tables on Google when the country’s electoral commission warned the company against meddling in local elections by posting videos of the opposition leader.