Next week, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai will appear before the House to testify at a House Judiciary Committee hearing.
As the committee's press release advised, "The hearing will examine potential bias and the need for greater transparency regarding the filtering practices of tech giant Google." However, it is pretty much expected for the tech giant to be grilled on whether and how it is filtering (positive) content related to President Trump, whether political bias influences their practices, and what the company is doing with its work with China.
Searching for Conspiracy
While social media giants Twitter and Facebook have both already appeared before a Senate committee hearing, Google refused to send a representative to that hearing. The September hearings were more about privacy, advertising discrimination, and also covered some issues related to partnerships with foreign manufacturers, as well as espionage. Notably, during that hearing, a senator called Google's patriotism into question for not showing up.
Unfortunately for Google, due to the short internet news cycle and how well conspiracy theorists are able to masquerade as journalists, there is increasing pressure for the company to further explain how the internet, and the internet search business, work to lawmakers. Pichai is likely to have to answer questions about whether the company has a liberal bias, whether it intentionally filters away positive news about President Trump, and also what the company's plans are involving their search engine designed for the Chinese market (aka designed to comply with the Chinese government's severe restrictions).
Curiously, one of the things prompting the hearing is one elected representative's belief that Google is biased against conservative viewpoints. Even more curiously, this is somehow a good enough reason to subject a company to a Congressional hearing, lest it be called unpatriotic again.
However, it is hard to deny that Google has a dominant position in the search market, as well as several other internet-based markets. Also, it's worth noting that President Trump recently called out Google (as well as Amazon and Facebook) as a potential target of stronger antitrust enforcement.