Wednesday March 20, 2019
Home Lead Story Google Is Run...

Google Is Run Without Any Political Bias: Sundar Pichai

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after China insisted on censoring search results.

0
//
Sundar Pichai, social media
. VOA

Google CEO Sundar Pichai insisted Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee that he runs the U.S. technology giant without political preference.

“We find that we have a wide variety of sources, including sources from the left and sources from the right. And we are committed to making sure there are diverse perspectives,” Pichai told the panel.

Pichai defended the company after accusations from Republican lawmakers that Google has developed online search algorithms to suppress conservative voices.

“There are numerous allegations in the news that Google employees have thought about doing this, talked about doing this and have done it,” Republican committee chairman Robert Goodlatte said.

Google, Sundar Pichai
A demonstrator holds up a sign in the doorway as Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies at a House Judiciary Committee on greater transparency in Washington. VOA

Republican Congressman Lamar Smith cited a study by P.J. Media that concluded 96 percent of Google’s search results for President Donald Trump were from “liberal media outlets.”

“In fact, not a single right-leaning site appeared on the first page of search results. This doesn’t happen by accident but is baked into the algorithms. Those who write the algorithms get the results they must want and apparently management allows it.”

Smith also cited a study by “Harvard-trained psychologist” Robert Epstein that said Google’s alleged bias “likely swung” more than 2.5 million votes to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.

“Google could well elect the next president with dire implications for our democracy,” Smith added.

Sundar Pichai, USA
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, arrives for the testimony of Google CEO Sundar Pichai about the internet giant’s privacy security and data collection, on Capitol Hill in Washington, VOA

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

Top committee Democrat Jerry Nadler said Republican accusations of bias is “a completely illegitimate issue, which is the fantasy dreamed up by some conservatives that Google and other online platforms have an anti-conservative bias. As I’ve said repeatedly, no credible evidence supports this right-wing conspiracy theory.”

President Donald Trump is among those who have accused the company of censoring conservative content, tweeting in August that Google is “RIGGED” and that “Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out.”

‘Dragonfly’ project

Pichai’s testimony came after he angered committee members in September by declining an invitation to testify about manipulation of online services by foreign governments to influence U.S. elections.

Google, Australia, encryption, Sundar pichai
A smartphone and computer screen display the Google home page. Australia is one step closer to forcing tech firms to give police access to encrypted data. VOA

The CEO was also questioned about the company’s planned “Dragonfly” project, a censored search engine for China and “next generation technology” that Congressman Smith said Google is “developing on Chinese soil.”

“This news raises a troubling possibility, that Google is being used to strengthen China’s system of surveillance, repression and control,” Smith said. “We need to know that Google is on the side of the free world, and that it will provide its services free of anti-competitive behavior, political bias and censorship.”

An international group of 60 human rights and media groups submitted a letter Tuesday to Pichai, calling on him to abandon the project, warning that personal data would not be safe from Chinese authorities.

Also Read: Australia Proposes To Strengthen Regulations of Facebook, Google

Reporters Without Borders, a signatory to the letter, said China ranked 176 out of 180 countries in its Freedom of the Press Index.

Google shut down its search engine in China in 2010 after China insisted on censoring search results. (VOA)

Next Story

New Zealand Firms to Pull Ads From Facebook, Google

Spark's move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site

0
Google, smart compose
The Google name is displayed outside the company's office in London, Britain. VOA

A collective of some of New Zealand’s biggest companies is set to pull ads from Facebook and Google in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosques shootings in which the gunman live-streamed his massacre of 50 people.

Using a GoPro camera, the gunman broadcast extremely graphic footage of him shooting people at the Al Noor Mosque via Facebook Live. The livestream was available to watch on social media for hours after the attack.

Besides being livestreamed on Facebook, the video, lasting 17 minutes, was shared repeatedly on YouTube and Twitter, before being removed by the social media giant.

The New Zealand Herald said on Monday that the collective, including ASB Bank, Lotto NZ, Burger King, Spark, has come together to take a stand against the harm caused by unmoderated content on the Internet.

At this stage, it is still unclear how extensive the pull-back will be or for how long the companies are likely to pull their digital ads.

Other brands have also acted independently, The New Zealand Herald reported.

facebook
Facebook: The platform allows for different types of content, which makes it ideal for diverse, interactive and entertaining content.

Kiwibank suspended all digital advertising on March 15 shortly after the carnage took place at the Al Noor mosque and the Linwood Avenue Masjid that also left over 40 others injured.

On Sunday, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that she intended to ask Facebook how the gunman was able to livestream the massacre.

Facebook has on its part said that as many as 1.5 million videos of the attack were removed from its platform in the first 24 hours.

Also Read- Here’s How Motorola Lost its Grip in India

This is not the first time New Zealand companies have pulled ads from these platforms.

Earlier this month, telecom company Spark pulled all its advertising from YouTube over concerns about paedophilic content.

Spark’s move was part of an international response, which also saw Disney and Nestle pull ads from the site. (IANS)