Google’s congressional hearing highlights in 11 minutes

Google’s congressional hearing highlights in 11 minutes


Our only witness today is Mr. Sundar Pichai Pichai is the chief executive officer of Google. Chairman Goodlatte ranking women adler distinguished members of the committee Thank you for the opportunity to be here today More than 90% of all internet searches take place on Google or its subsidiary YouTube and they are curating what we see Google, has long faced criticism for manipulating search results to censor conservatives. Conservative individuals and organizations have had their pro Trump Content tagged as hate speech or had their content reduced in search results So what are you going to improve that situation? Congressman thanks for the question. If I may Some of the studies you mentioned we have investigated those there are there are other studies which have looked at it we have found issues with the methodology and the sample size and so on. But let me step back and say Providing users with high quality accurate and trusted information is sacrosanct to us It’s what our principles are. And our business interests and natural long-term incentives are aligned with that We want to serve users everywhere and we need to earn their trust in doing so Ileana Murillo is Google’s head of multicultural marketing. Does miss Murillo do good work? I’m not directly familiar with her work, but she’s an employee of Google and you know We’re proud of our employees. Your head of multicultural marketing Said you were pushing to get out the Latino vote paying for ride to the poll to the polls for the Latino vote Only in key states and you’re saying that’s not accurate Yes, that’s right They be haven’t found any evidence to substantiate you she just made it up out of thin air the day after the election I wrote This email to your top executives and it’s not true Congressman. I’m happy to follow up, but I think the employees today do their own activities. We don’t want to follow up I want the real answers right here in this committee As I said earlier, we’ve looked into it We didn’t find you push to get out the key vote and and I would say the two most populous states for Latinos would be California and Texas Did you push to get out the Latino vote and pay for people to go to the poll in California in Texas? We as a company didn’t have any effort to push out votes for any particular demographic that would be against our principles We participate in the civic process in a
nonpartisan way and we think it’s really important We do it that way. I I have an iPhone and If I move from here and go over there and sit with my Democrat friends, which will make them real nervous Does Google track my movement? Does Google, through this phone, know that I have moved here and moved over to the left? It’s either yes or no not by default There may be a Google service which you’ve opted in to use. So Google knows that I am moving over there It’s it’s not a trick question. You know, you make a hundred million dollars a year You ought to be able to answer that question. Does Google know? Through this phone that I am moving over there and sitting next to Mr. Johnson, which would make him real nervous It’s his question. It’s yes or nope. I wouldn’t be able to answer that I’m looking at yes say yes or no without knowing more details sir. I have a concern Concerning China In 2010 Google left the Chinese market place due to concerns over Hacking attacks censorship and how the Chinese government was possibly gaining access to data I’m interested in what has changed since 2010 and how working with the Chinese government to censor results are part of Google’s core values. Do you understand my question? Congressman We right now there are no plans for us to launch a search product in China we are in general always looking to see how best it’s part of our core mission and our principles to Try hard to provide users with information we Always have evidence based on every country we have operated in Us reaching out and giving uses to more information has a very positive impact and and we feel that Calling. But right now there are no plans to launch in China The extent that we ever You know approach a decision like that I will be fully transparent; including with policymakers here and engage in consult widely so anticipating what took place in 2016 happening again, and and this is specifically regarding What Russia did to foment racial tensions in the United States and Wanting to know how you are responding to that. Were they called for, you know fake protests? Either to get African Americans to turn out to protest something that was fake or to have white supremists Be ginned up to attack communities of color so specifically what is Google doing to respond to that? We mainly saw with respect to Russia Limited improper activity on our ad platforms but in general, you know We are not a social networking company across the products. We do it’s an area we haven’t done well as a company so we typically are in connecting groups of people and that’s not how Google mainly works today and So we haven’t seen that kind of activities on our platforms, but we are vigilant and you know I’m happy to share any findings which come through as we look into it more the operating environment in China has Deteriorated with respect to surveillance censorship and the like since Google first made the decision in 2010 to leave So I want to ask very specifically are any employees currently having product meetings on this Chinese project and if not when did those end? We have undertaken an internal effort. But right now there are no plans to launch a search service in China as I said earlier Are there any current discussions with any member of the Chinese government on launching this app Currently we are not in discussions around launching a search product in China Are there any current discussions with members of the Chinese government about this? You know, this effort currently is an internal effort and you know, I’m happy to consult as well as be transparent to the action We take, as steps towards launching a product in China. And who at Google is leading the dragonfly effort It’s, you know our efforts around Building search, you know, it’s undertaken by our search teams, but these are distributed efforts It’s a limited effort internally currently Will you Mr. Pichai, rule out launching a tool for surveillance and censorship in China while you are CEO of Google? congressman I commit to engaging one of the things which is important to us as a company. We have a stated mission of providing users with information and so we always think it’s in our duty to explore possibilities to give users access to information and You know, I have that commitment. But you know, as I said earlier on this will be very thoughtful and We will engage widely as we make progress this is now the fourth hearing in a series of ridiculous hearings on a free speech of Internet companies a significant portion this hearing was a waste of time because the First Amendment protects private individuals’ and corporations’ free speech rights, so I’m gonna search for Consequence Steve King i’ma hit the news tab The first article that pops up is from ABC news It says Steve King’s racist immigration talk prompts calls for congressional censure That’s a negative article, but you don’t have a group of people from Google sitting here thinking and trying to modify search results every time Steve King comes up, because a negative article appears. That’s not what’s happening, right? We always operate for any query with the same set of principles We are trying to reflect what is currently you know If it is newsworthy what is currently being discussed about that phrase Thank you So, let me just conclude here by stating the obvious If you want positive search results do positive things if you don’t want negative search results Don’t do negative things. And to some of my colleagues here across the aisle, If you’re getting bad press articles and bad search results Don’t blame Google or Facebook or Twitter consider blaming yourself Did Google design a prototype for a search engine that would be used in China to censor content Congressman we have undertaken an internal effort Did you create a prototype that there was a report in the intercept that says a prototype for the censored search Engine was designed We have developed and explored what a search could look like if it were to be launched in a country like China and that’s what we Explored and how many months was that project ongoing? We’ve had the project underway for a while and there have been other projects which we’ve undertaken for a while and we’ve never launched them – so we could be a constantly exploring… How many how many people were working on it? The estimates, you know the number of engineers and the project have varied over time at ten at one point We’ve had over a hundred people working on it. It’s my understanding. Who makes the judgment calls regarding content moderation at Google Chairman it depends on the area. So for example if it’s YouTube we have You know very clear teams which are responsible for YouTube content policies and… They identified whether is it possible for the customer to write to them and say “hey here’s a concern I have” ? We give clear channels for content creators to You know to raise concerns back and we have clear avenues and and we also have had people who are responsible for these platforms Including content moderation appear here You know and I think they’ve consulted widely here too – thank you. Well you’ve gone for about three and a half hours and it’s about what we predicted isn’t it yesterday when we talked so we Thank you very much for your participation today. This concludes today’s hearing and without objection All members will have five legislative days to submit written Question for the witness or additional materials for the record and with that this hearing is adjourned

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