Google CEO Sundar Pichai met with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., National Economic Council head Larry Kudlow and about two dozen Republican members of Congress on Friday to discuss numerous concerns that the GOP has with the tech giant, including political bias against conservatives.
Google seemingly made the case that while it may need to make some internal improvements, the tech giant has the right motives at heart, improves the lives of millions of Americans annually, and is willing to work with both sides of the aisle to change for the better.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen this movie before.
At the start of the decade, the Federal Trade Commission conducted a two-year review of Google’s business practices, finding them to be abusive at their core. In lieu of regulation, Google assured the government that such behavior would no longer occur.
While the FTC’s lax action was outrageous, it wasn’t surprising coming from the Obama administration, which was notoriously biased in favor of the Silicon Valley tech industry.
Google employees and owners were major contributors to President Obama’s campaigns and his White House was a revolving door of Google personnel. Google representatives often sat in on several Obama administration meetings every week.
Nevertheless, it’s clear that no matter what rosy account of the state-of-play that Pichai relayed to his Republican hosts on Friday, the Obama FTC’s all-believing strategy of slaps on the wrist worked out about as well as trusting a child not to put another hand in the cookie jar. The status quo hasn’t changed.
This is a company that is working on a censored search engine for the People’s Republic of China. If Google is happy to assist a communist regime with its thought policing and propaganda efforts, who’s to say that it wouldn’t do it right here in the United States?
Some company executives may argue that there aren’t any biases against conservatives in its search algorithms. Even if members of the right concede this point, recent events prove that this tech behemoth is still all too willing to censor the public, stifling diversity of thought to pad its bottom line.
After all, this is a company that is working on a censored search engine for the People’s Republic of China. If Google is happy to assist a communist regime with its thought policing and propaganda efforts, who’s to say that it wouldn’t do it right here in the United States?
But the greed problem with Google extends far beyond censorship. The company also dabbles into the fake news realm. This money-hungry monopoly frequently deceives and misleads the American people to increase its stranglehold over the cyber world.
For example, when Google’s knowledge bar included “Nazism” as an ideology for California’s Republican Party earlier this year, the company was quick to point fingers at Wikipedia, stating that is the website where its service retrieved the information.
The truth, however, is that Google deserves much of the blame for the existence of this misinformation given to the public in the first place.
The company seems to have created its answer boxes to further bolster its market share, lifting information from other websites and hence stealing their traffic by prioritizing the “Google-approved” knowledge bar.
Suppressing the page visits to open-sourced websites like Wikipedia has serious consequences – it reduces the number of editors and thus plummets the quality of the content.
Google executives can’t with a straight face say their anti-competitive tactics are not at fault for misleading the public about conservatives and other groups of people en masse. While the U.S. Justice Department shouldn’t allow Google to strong-arm competitors, in the interim the company should be forced to accept the ramifications for utilizing and prioritizing the content that it helped destroy.
Since it’s clear that nothing has changed about the anti-competitive nature of Google since the last time government forces confronted it, the question becomes why?
The answer has to do with Google’s underlying motives and culture. But the person who is responsible for steering the company’s actions and objectives isn’t Sundar Pichai – it’s his boss, Larry Page, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet.
To fend off accountability and minimize pressure on its ultimate decision-maker, Google seems to have shielded Page from the public's view. This would explain why the company seems wholly unthreatened by the Republican-controlled Congress’ presently tough rhetoric – it isn’t exerting pressure on the individual in need of the biggest push of all.
If Republicans in Washington are serious about changing the Big Tech monopoly, they will refuse to tolerate the company’s deflections concerning its role in censorship and purveying misinformation. They will also mandate that Larry Page – the man pulling strings behind the curtain – is the individual who comes before them.
Until that time, nothing will change and consumers will remain as vulnerable as ever.