After attending a meeting in Washington D.C. last week with Republican lawmakers, Sundar Pichai — the CEO of Google — will be returning to the nation’s capital for a meeting of social media companies at the White House. President Donald Trump and his administration are also hoping that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will be present at the meeting.
Pichai met with several prominent Republicans, including White House Economic advisor Larry Kudlow, over a perceived bias found on social media networks — a meeting which Kudlow describes as successful, according to reports from Engadget.
Social media networks have been a common target for Trump and his associates in recent months, with the services frequently accused of bias. The two specific targets of Trump’s venom have been Google and Twitter, two companies that Trump accuses of having a negative bias against conservatives.
Back in August, Trump unleashed an early-morning tweet lambasting Google on Twitter.
“Google search results for ‘Trump News’ shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD. Fake CNN is prominent. Republican/Conservative & Fair Media is shut out. Illegal? 96% of… results on ‘Trump News’ are from National Left-Wing Media, very dangerous. Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see. This is a very serious situation-will be addressed!”
In response, a Google spokesman claimed that all results in a Google search are graded by relevance — and not political bias — in a complicated algorithm, while making clear that there was no political influence intended on any topic, CNBC details.
The gathering comes as firms like Google, Facebook and others face increasing pressure from Congress.https://t.co/Dk8LVkYwpz— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) October 2, 2018
Two separate congressional hearings held earlier in the year brought the CEOs of each company in, questioning the executives over their alleged anti-conservative agenda. There have even been rumblings that Trump could sign an executive order that would force the tech titans to be the subject of federal investigations over political bias.
In September, Facebook and Twitter representatives were brought in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee to answer questions related to potential election meddling and cybersecurity. While Google was given an invitation, neither Pichai nor any other high-ranking official in the company attended the hearing. They did offer Kent Walker, the company’s Chief Legal Officer, which was rejected by the committee and roundly criticized. Since then, Pichai has become scheduled to appear in November at the House Judiciary Committee in order to give testimony regarding the topics of bias, privacy, and the company’s relationship with China.
While there is no official date set for the White House meeting, current expectations are that it will be held sometime in October.