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Google CEO Sundar Pichai will deny bias in first testimony to Congress

Posted at 6:40 AM, Dec 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-11 06:40:30-05

Sundar Pichai has tried very hard to avoid political controversy in his three years as CEO of Google. On Tuesday, he won’t be able to avoid the spotlight in Washington any longer.

The former engineer makes his debut appearance before Congress at 10:00 a.m. ET, when he sits down before the House Judiciary Committee for what is expected to be several hours of intense questioning.

Pichai has briefed members of Congress before, but he’s never testified publicly.

He’s likely to face questions from lawmakers about consumer privacy, Google’s (GOOGL) strategy on China and regulation of the tech industry. Some Republican lawmakers are expected to ask whether the search giant is biased against conservatives.

The CEO will push back against those allegations, according to prepared testimony published by the committee.

“I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests,” Pichai is expected to say.

“We are a company that provides platforms for diverse perspectives and opinions — and we have no shortage of them among our own employees,” he will add.

Chaired by Republican Bob Goodlatte, the House Judiciary Committee has held hearings throughout the year focused on whether tech giants are biased.

Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey was the last major tech figure to make an appearance before the committee, doing so at a hearing in September.

Google had previously declined to make Pichai available for a hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, even though Dorsey and Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg did attend.

An earlier attempt to get Pichai to Capitol Hill became so contentious that a Senate committee featured an empty chair in his place at a hearing.