In April, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also faced lawmakers' questions, although on that occasion they focused on the scandal involving Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm that gained unauthorized access to 87 million Facebook user accounts.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testifies before the House Judiciary Committee at the Rayburn House Office Building on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC. Pichai's no-show at that hearing was marked by an empty chair for Google alongside the Facebook and Twitter executives who did appear.
The latest hearing comes with Silicon Valley under fire over privacy practices and manipulation, including by foreign governments, and possible monopoly practices.
European regulators already have concluded Google manipulated its search engine to gain an unfair advantage over other online shopping sites in the lucrative e-commerce market, and fined the company $2.8 billion.
Several Republicans on the committee, including Rep. Lamar Smith, said there was "political bias baked into" Google's culture.
He said search algorithms reflect factors such as "relevance, freshness (and) popularity", and added that "we try to reflect what is newsworthy, what is now being discussed". PJ Media reports that Democrat Rep. Jerrold Nadler of NY implored Google to "combat the spread of white supremacy and right-wing extremism across YouTube", and Steve Cohen of Tennessee suggested the real problem was "overly using conservative news organizations on your news", based on his experience being a frequent MSNBC guest yet having a Daily Caller piece on him being the first result in a Google search.
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Officials in several states urged residents to stay off the roads and instead enjoy holiday festivities with their loved ones. More than 12 inches of snow will fall Sunday in the southern and central Appalachians, the National Weather Service said.
Louie Gohmert, a Texas Republican, argued that Google was "surrounded by liberality" and did not recognize its own bias.
Nadler called the notion of bias a "delusion" and a "right-wing conspiracy theory".
California Democrat Ted Lieu called the hearing "a waste of time" and ridiculed the comments about constitutional rights under the First Amendment. Looming over the tech industry is the possibility of government regulation meant to protect people's data and a deeper look into whether very big companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook need to be broken up.
- What does Google know?
Goodlatte said the tech giant was "able to collect an amount of information about its users that would even make the NSA (National Security Agency) blush", arguing that the company needed to be more transparent about what it does with location and other data on Android-powered devices.
He also sought to deflect criticism over "Project Dragonfly", a hotly contested project that could offer a search engine that would satisfy Chinese censors.
"There is talk of suppressing conservative speech, why wouldn't that be something you would launch an internal investigation in, publish those reports, sanction those employees that may or may not engaged in proper conduct so we can all be involved in the experience?"