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Melissa Ryan @MelissaRyan
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies on user data practices before the House Judiciary Committee. I'll be live tweeting because there's nothing I love more than Republicans wasting my tax dollars complaining about bias against them that doesn't exist!
There are also some serious concerns that I hope members ask Pichai about including data breaches, Google's operating in China, sexual harassment problems, and the radicalization hellscape that is YouTube. #techhearings
Alex Jones and Roger Stone are both at the hearing so I'm sure this won't turn into a circus at all. #techhearings
This should be the final tech hearing of this Congress. Come January Democrats are the majority and the Judiciary Committee's priorities are going to change bigly. #techhearings
Kevin McCarthy, the outgoing majority leader, is opening the hearing. Drink every time he references conservative bias. #techhearings
That didn't take long. Also he blamed Google employees for the supposed bias. Classy. #techhearings
McCarthy's points on China are spot on though. I'm amazed there isn't more outrage about Google's willingness to work with the Chinese government to censor the Internet. #techhearings
Sundar Pichai is already trending on Twitter and he hasn't even said a word. #techhearings
Chair Goodlatte is so far focusing on the issue at hand: data transparency. Hopefully, he'll keep this tone all hearing and we can have a serious discussion about issues of concern to taxpayers. #techhearings
We're moving into bias now. Goodlatte trying to sound legit while talking about the myth of conservative bias. #techhearings
Always love @tedlieu's commentary (and questions) during these hearings. He's a beacon of sanity in crazy town.
What kills me about Goodlatte's opening remarks is much of what he's bringing up are legitimate concerns that taxpayers deserve accountability for. But peppered with false claims about conservative bias that cause so many people to tune out. #techhearings
Incoming Chair Nadler is addressing the conservative bias myth straight out of the gate. Chiding his colleagues who plan to waste time on it at the hearing. And reminding us subtly that come January the committee will have different priorities. #techhearings
Nadler says these issues should be the focus of today's hearing: foreign-born disinformation, Google enforcement of community standards for civil rights purposes, radicalization leading to hate crimes, fair business practices, piracy, and data protection for Google's users.
(Really looking forward to THAT hearing come January BTW.)
Nadler also talking about Google in China, points out that the House Judiciary Committee has yet to hold a hearing about this. Again, come January, that will change. #techhearings
Pichai giving his opening statement. Telling his story of self, and also how technology has impacted his life in a positive way. Calls himself a "technology optimist" who believes in both tech and people. #techhearings
Pichai framing Google as an American company that never forgets its "American roots."Touring all the jobs Google has created in the US. #techhearings
Pichai trying to assure us that Google has our backs when it comes to privacy. A hard argument to make given yesterday's data breach news.
Goodlatte asking questions first. Asking about Android's location pings, and if Google is compiling information about where Americans are at any moment. #techhearings
Pichai says users can opt in and out to data collection. There's some back and forth about whether or not average users understand what they're opting into. #techhearings
Goodlatte asked if candidates should be charged like TV and radio rates to reach the same voters. Pichai says no, that's not how the product works. #techhearings.
This line of questioning is always really interesting to me. There's no regulation here and I wonder how realistic it is to require digital ads for campaigns to be priced in a similar way to legacy media. #techhearings
Incoming Chair Nadler asking about yesterday's data breach news right away. Asks what Google's legal obligations to tell users are. #techhearings
Nadler now asking about Russian interference, including YouTube videos. Does Google now know the full extent of Russian infiltration? Pichai says yes, there were two main ad accounts as well as accounts linked to Iran.
Nadler asks what Google is doing to prevent the spread of extremism across YouTube. Pichai says they have policies, are transparent, and remove content that violates policies. Which sounds great but isn't really what seems to be happening. #techhearings
.@lamarsmithtx21 is going to spend his time asking about conservative bias that doesn't exist,. So thanks for wasting my time and tax dollars! #techhearings
.@LamarSmithTX21 using the word "irrefutable" about claims with no basis in reality. Pichai offering to explain to him how studies work. #techhearings
.@RepZoeLofgren up now. Google's current HQ is in her district. She's asking if Google will provide additional housing to the district as they expand. Pichai promises they will. #techhearings
.@RepZoeLofgren asks about conservative bias and whether individual employees could build bias into the search engine. You'll be shocked to hear that Pichai answers no, that's not the case. #techhearings
.@SteveChabot is also using his time to ask about conservative bias. He's talking about his blog now. Really. And how when he researched Obamacare most articles he found were in favor of it. #techhearings.
.@SteveChabot is now complaining that the extremely unpopular Republican tax bill doesn't have any positive press coverage. (Apparently, he doesn't consider how deeply unpopular repeal and the tax bill were with voters.) #techhearings
Pichai points out that there are negative news articles about him all the time on Google. Refuses to give an inch to this BS so far. #techhearings
.@JacksonLeeTX18 asks about hate speech that provokes violence and if that content is taken down. Pichai says yes. (Again this doesn't seem to be happening a lot of the time.) #techhearings
.@JacksonLeeTX18 asking questions in rapid-fire, all of which she hopes are better addressed in the next Congress. Interesting how much Dems seem determined to let Pichai know there's about to be a new sheriff in town. #techhearings
.@JacksonLeeTX18 asking Google, specifically YouTube, about what they're doing to promote diversity both in staffing and in content on the platform. #techhearings
.@DarrellIssa is also going to waste our time and tax dollars asking about the myth of conservative bias. Has the audacity to compare it to diversity. #techhearings
Wow. @DarrellIssa going all in. Comparing the myth of conservative bias to civil rights struggles. Because no one is more oppressed than white Republican Congressmen! #techhearings
Y'all Issa broke my brain.
.@RepCohen asking Google to have a customer service line that Google's users can call. He'd also like it to be better than Comcast's customer service call centers. I can't... #techhearings
.@RepCohen says Google has more than 200 lobbyists, all of whom he thinks to look like the same person. Now he's suggesting Google oversees conservative news outlets and should look into that. I get the point he's trying to make but...
.@Jim_Jordan now accusing Google of helping people vote? He's mad at Google's GOTV efforts for Latino voters. He assumes "key states" means swing states instead of states where large concentrations of Latino voters are. #techhearings
Moving to hashtag #GoogleHearing since that's trending on Twitter now. Provided my head doesn't explode before my next tweet.
.@RepHankJohnson asks if the email even exists or if it's just "fake news." It isn't but I laughed, #Googlehearing
.@RepHankJohnson aks about data collection and if given news of the breach our data is safe with Google. Pichai says that breach was just a bug and Google does everything they can to find bugs. Also touts Gmail's Advanced Protection program. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepHankJohnson asks about monetization of data. Pichai assures Google never sells user data outright and allows users to choose how their data is used. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@JudgeTedPoe holds up an iPhone and asks if Google knows that he's walking across the room. Also seems to think his walking towards his Democratic colleagues makes them nervous? He seems like a joy to work with. #googlehearing #techhearings
.@JudgeTedPoe seems to be in favor of GDPR, says he has a bill that offers some of the same protection. #GoogleHearing #techhearings
.@JudgeTedPoe asks what content Google views as objectionable. Asks how Pichai defines "extreme political views." Amazing how Republican members generally seem concerned that hate speech covers conservative views. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@TedDeutch, who represents Parkland, is up now. Google, Youtube in particular, absolutely owes his constituents some answers. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@TedDeutch digging into what data Google collects, even when users think they're opting out. Pichai says they don't share data with advertisers without permission. Deutch asks about location data from other advertisers who use Google.
One thing that's really striking from #Googlehearing, that should be of concern to Google, is how little trust there is generally. MoC's from both sides of the aisle don't trust that Google is being straight about data privacy. #techhearings
.@RepTomMarino asking about China and if Google plans to launch a search engine in China. Pichai says again that there are currently no plans but if/when there are he'll be fully transparent. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepKarenBass asks for more information about what Google is doing to combat bot and troll farms. Pichai talks about collaboration with law enforcement, increased staffing, etc. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepDougCollins asking a series of questions about what information Google collects. Pichai defaulting to opt in and out for every answer. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepDougCollins if there's any data Google wouldn't collect unless the law prohibited. Pichai answers that Google Home won't record all of our conversations, Which is not comforting as a response. #GoogleHearing #techhearings
Really appreciate this line of questioning from @RepDougCollins. Clearly, a lot of users don't understand how much data collection they're opting into.
.@davidcicilline also asking about China and Google's future plans in the Chinese market. Asks if any Google employees are currently having product meetings. Pichai says no and says Google is not in discussion with the Chinese government about a product. #Googlehearing
.@davidcicilline closes with a call for the preservation of American moral leadership in the face of rising authoritarianism around the world and calls for Google to support those values. #Googlehearing #techhearings
You'll be shocked that @mattgaetz started his time by asking about conservative bias that doesn't exist! #brokenrecord #googlehearing #techhearings
Now, @mattgaetz is inventing fan fiction about Google employees organizing a conspiracy against conservatives, live in real time, on the floor of Congress. Our tax dollars at work! #Googlehearing #TechHearings
Am I listening to a member of Congress or Alex Jones? Because this is some serious conspiracy mongering from @mattgaetz right now. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepMikeJohnson is also on the conservative bias bandwagon. Dude is also defending the ADF and calling Southern Poverty Law Center a "radical left" organization. Which seems like a completely reasonable take! </sarcasm>
.@tedlieu is doing what he does best at these hearings: explaining to his Republican colleagues how capitalism works. Always a treat. #Googlehearing #techhearings
I for one would be 100% in support of legislation forcing tech companies to show us more cute videos of dogs and cats. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@tedlieu suggests Republicans getting negative press should consider blaming themselves instead of Google. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepRaskin asking about conspiracies spreading on Youtube, specifically this WaPo article from this morning.…
It's pretty shocking that this is the first question about conspiracies spreading on YouTube today. #Googlehearing
Pichai touting progress so far but does admit Google needs to do more. Which is the freaking understatement of the year. #GoogleHearing. #techhearings
.@RepRaskin is not letting up on this line of questioning at all. Makes clear that political views are one thing but that conspiracy videos cause real harm. #Googlehearing #techhearings
Rep. Handel is the second Republican Congressperson asking about Google's efforts to register voters, which apparently they don't like? #Googlehearing #techhearings
@RepJayapal thanks Google for encouraging people to vote and then asks about forced arbitration. First question about Google's harassment problems at this hearing. #GoogleHearing #techhearings
.@RepJayapal asks Google to commit to asking Google to remove all forced arbitration agreements, not just for sexual harassment. Pichai is non-committal. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@KeithRothfus is also on the conservative bias train. Asks if Google's produces are powerful enough to sway an election. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@KeithRothfus "Does Google do anything to ensure ideological diversity." Because again, no one is as oppressed as Republican Congressmen. They are the true victims here. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepValDemings emphasizes consumer protection, asks about predatory ads and making sure the rich and poor in America don't see different search results. Pichai talks about engagement with and feedback from community groups. #Googlehearing #techhearings
.@RepValDemings asks Pichai how Google collaborates with law enforcement to protect consumers across several fronts.
Republicans like @replouiegohmert threatening Google with regulation after losing the house just a month ago is always amusing. #Googlehearing #techhearings
Second mention of Southern Poverty Law Center today. @replouiegohmert calling them a hate group. With a straight face. #Googlehearing #techhearings
Five minutes of word salad from @replouiegohmert. No questions of any kind. Our tax dollars at work! #GoogleHearing #techhearings
Now we're at @SteveKingIA. Chances he shouts out Gateway Pundit at least once during his time are 100%. #Googlehearing #techhearings
Come January these hearings are gonna be different. That's what's getting me through this painful, painful exchange. #Googlehearing #techhearings
Goodlatte asking followup questions now so I think we're nearing the end of #GoogleHearing
And #Googlehearing is a wrap. Thanks for following along!
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