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Sundar Pichai, Google CEO, to meet with Republicans to discuss alleged bias, China

September 25, 2018

Google’s chief executive, Sundar Pichai, will meet privately with Republican lawmakers on Friday in the face of lingering questions involving its operations in the U.S. and abroad.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, has scheduled a meeting with Mr. Pichai for the end of the week, The Wall Street Journal first reported Monday.

“Google has a lot of questions to answer about reports of bias in its search results, violations of user privacy, anticompetitive behavior and business dealings with repressive regimes like China,” Mr. McCarthy said in a statement. “This meeting will inform the Judiciary Committee hearing that will be scheduled later this fall.”

“I look forward to meeting with members on both sides of the aisle, answering a wide range of questions and explaining our approach,” Mr. Pichai, 46, said in a separate statement. “These meetings will continue Google’s long history of engaging with Congress, including testifying seven times to Congress this year.”

Congressional history aside, Republicans and Democrats alike took aim at Google earlier this month after the company declined to send the CEO of its parent company, Alphabet, to a Sept. 5 hearing attended by executives from Facebook and Twitter on the topic of foreign influence operations and their use of social media platforms.

Separately, the company has faced criticism recently over both its possible return to China and allegations of anti-conservative bias, triggering complaints from bipartisan lawmakers and Republicans led by President Trump, respectively.

At least 22 lawmakers from either side of the aisle have written Mr. Pichai in recent weeks after news reports suggested Google was considering doing business in China for the first time since 2010, citing concerns with the government’s strict censorship rules and restrictions on free speech.

Mr. Trump, meanwhile, claimed without evidence last month that Google is “suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican, subsequently asked the Federal Trade Commission to consider opening an investigation into “the competitive effects of Google’s conduct.”

Also, the White House has started preparing an executive order directing federal authorities to investigate the business practices of major internet companies, Google included, Bloomberg News reported over the weekend.

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