U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN-09) apparently does not like it when Google shows conservative websites’ coverage of his television appearances. He remarked upon that trend during a House Judiciary Committee grilling of Google CEO Sundar Pichai Tuesday.
Cohen accused Google of “overly using conservative news organizations on your news,” PJ Media reported.
“This weekend I was on MSNBC four times, and yet the first thing that comes up is The Daily Caller, not exactly a liberal, but I guess well-known group, then Roll Call, then Breitbart News, then the Memphis Business Journal, then Breitbart News, then Breitbart,” Cohen said. “…I’d like you to look into overuse of conservative news organizations to put on liberal people’s news on Google.”
Pichai said, “I can assure you we do this in a neutral way. And we do this based on that specific keyword, what we are able to access the most relevant information.”
“I’m sure you try to, but it’s hard for me to fathom being on MSNBC for like eight minutes each show, four times, and there’s more content on Breitbart News than MSNBC,” Cohen replied. “That might say something about – well I’m not going to say that. Scary.”
Perhaps even more scary is Cohen’s penchant for sticking his foot in his mouth. He asked the Indian-born Pichai about privacy settings and whether Google could provide a virtual interactive “school” to help people with settings. Then he inserted his foot: “Not like Comcast where you get put on hold for thirty minutes and find somebody who you can’t understand.”
Pichai kept his cool and replied that Google offers privacy tips that walk users through the settings.
Pichai also told lawmakers that the company’s studies show results offered in top-news category “have a wide variety of sources including sources from the left and sources from the right – and we have committed to making sure there are diverse perspectives.”
The session also touched upon Russian political ads, alleged price differences for conservative vs. liberal political ads, and white supremacy content on YouTube.
Conservatives had their say as well.
U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX-21) asked about conservatives who have “pro-Trump content tagged as hate speech or had their content reduced in search results.”
Pichai said Google wants to serve users with accurate and trusted information. He said it is not possible for any employee to manipulate search results.
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) called for a Department of Justice investigation of Google. U.S. Sen.-elect Josh Hawley (R-MO) wants Google executives to testify under oath. The lawmakers were concerned about an exclusive story about anti-conservative bias at Google by The Daily Caller News Foundation.
Google employees debated whether to bury conservative media outlets in search results as a response to President Donald Trump’s election in 2016, internal Google communications obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation reveal.
Republican lawmakers criticized Pichai for skipping a Sept. 5 Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on social media and foreign election meddling. Facebook and Twitter executives testified, and an empty chair with a nameplate that said, “Google” sat where the company’s representative would have been.
Conservatives have bemoaned how Google and Facebook give preferential treatment to left-leaning fact-checking website Snopes despite the site wildly misrepresenting the accuracy of a meme. That meme falsely claims that Republicans who voted to repeal ObamaCare in 2017 were voted out.
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