In a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked to explain why a Google image search for "idiot" turned up pictures of Donald Trump - and whether that was a case of intentional bias, according to the Verge.
Google's CEO faces a grilling from US lawmakers on how the web search giant handled an alarming data breach and whether it may bend to Chinese government censorship demands. Pichai's no-show at that hearing was marked by an empty chair for Google alongside the Facebook and Twitter executives. "Getting access to information is an important human right".
Republicans have long accused Google of political bias, which the company has strongly denied.
He wrote "Even as we expand into new markets we never forget our American roots, "It's no coincidence that a company dedicated to the free flow of information was founded right here in the U.S".
Arguing against Pichai, the panel made points about previous instances of "Google bombing" (in which a site is manipulated to "rank highly in web search engine results for irrelevant, unrelated or off-topic search terms by linking heavily") thar brought up questionable results about famous people including George W. Bush and Michelle Obama.
News outlets reported on the Trump "idiot" results earlier this year.
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This flows through to substantial power when it comes to online search advertising, as well as the referral of traffic to news sites.
Some lawmakers raised the prospect of new regulations or modifying the exemption from liability that Internet firms enjoy for content from third parties.
But Democrat Jerry Nadler called the bias issue a "fantasy" drummed up by conservatives and said "no evidence supports this right-wing conspiracy theory".
"The First Amendment limits what the government can do on regulating speech, it does not limit Google", Lieu said.
Pichai tried to address lawmakers concerns by claiming that users are given choice to turn off their location services and also they are allowed to agree or disagree to data collection.
"We remind users to do a privacy checkup and we make it very obvious. they can clearly see what information we have", he said.
Google is facing fallback over its intentions for Project Dragonfly, a censored search engine in China.