Washington, D.C. — On Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 10:00 a.m. the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing entitled, “Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices.” The hearing will examine potential bias and the need for greater transparency regarding the filtering practices of tech giant Google.

The witness for Wednesday’s hearing will be:

  • Mr. Sundar Pichai, CEO, Google

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Ca.) issued the following statements in advance of the hearing.

Chairman Goodlatte: “Online technology is now an integral part of most Americans’ modern lifestyle. It has globalized society and made it possible for people to connect across continents, explore vast amounts of information, and share meaningful dialogue with friends. However, the technology behind online services like social media and Internet search engines can also be used to suppress particular viewpoints and manipulate public opinion.

“Americans put their trust in big tech companies to honor freedom of speech and champion open dialogue, and it is Congress’ responsibility to the American people to make sure these tech giants are transparent and accountable in their practices. I am pleased that the CEO of Google, Mr. Pichai, has agreed to testify before the Committee on behalf of Google’s business practices.”

Majority Leader McCarthy: “Google has created some of the most powerful and impressive technology applications. Today the company accounts for nearly 90 percent of worldwide search traffic. Google therefore has great influence over what millions of people can and cannot find on the Internet. That comes with a responsibility to its users.

“Unfortunately, recent reports suggest Google might not be wielding its vast power impartially. Its business practices may have been affected by political bias. Additionally, reports claim the company is compromising its core principles by complying with repressive censorship mandates from China.

“For months, House Republicans have called for greater transparency and openness from Google. Company CEO Sundar Pichai met with House Republicans in September to answer some of our questions. Mr. Pichai’s scheduled appearance in front of the House Judiciary Committee is another important step to restoring public trust in Google and all the companies that shape the Internet.”

This hearing will take place in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building and will be webcast live at judiciary.house.gov. Camera crews wishing to cover must be congressionally credentialed and RSVP with the House Radio-TV Gallery at (202) 225-5214.

Background: This hearing follows three prior hearings the Judiciary Committee has held regarding the topic of social media filtering practices.

In April, the House Judiciary Committee held the first hearing in a series on social media filtering and policing practices.  This hearing focused on what metrics social media platforms use to moderate content, how filtering decisions are made, and whether viewpoints have been silenced on some of the most popular and widely used platforms.

The second hearing that took place in July, “Facebook, Google and Twitter: Examining the Content Filtering Practices of Social Media Giants,” examined the metrics social media platforms use to moderate content, how filtering decisions are made, and whether viewpoints have been silenced on some of the most popular and widely used platforms.

And most recently in September, was the third hearing entitled, “The State of Intellectual Freedom in America.” At the hearing, witnesses shared their stories about alleged political bias, including alleged bias by social media companies on the Internet and college administrators on college campuses targeting professors.

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