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Politics

Google’s Larry Page asked to join Dorsey, Sandberg for Senate hearing

The CEO would testify on foreign interference in US elections.

Fortune Global Forum

Congress has invited Larry Page to testify on behalf of Google on Sept. 5.

Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune

The search is on for Larry Page. 

The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has invited the Alphabet CEO to testify before Congress at a hearing on how foreign influence operations use social media to spread political propaganda. The hearing is scheduled to take place on Sept. 5. If Page accepts, he'd join Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. 

The public invitation comes after the committee rejected an offer from Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president of global affairs, to testify. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, stressed that he wasn't interested in the senior vice president testifying alongside the other two tech leaders.

The original invite, which came on July 25, was extended to Page, who runs Google parent Alphabet, rather than Google CEO Sundar Pichai, as earlier reported, a committee aide said. Google responded to the committee with other executives who could testify, but never confirmed if Page could attend. More than a month later, the committee released the public invitation to the Alphabet CEO.

Google, Facebook and Twitter have been addressing the issue of foreign influence campaigns that use their social media platforms to interfere in US politics. Russia, Iran and other countries have engaged in major trolling efforts. Last week, Google said it removed 58 accounts tied to Iran's influence campaign, which focused on spreading misinformation and sowing discord. Facebook removed 650 accounts tied to Iran's efforts.

The influence campaigns don't directly change votes. But lawmakers are concerned with how foreign propaganda affects American views on democracy, and want to know what tech companies are doing to deal with the attacks.

Congress has held multiple hearings on how foreign actors have used social media to influence US politics, with tech executives speaking on Capitol Hill. The hearing on Sept. 5 would mark the first time Twitter's CEO has testified on behalf of his company. 

Google hasn't responded to the invite, a committee aide told CNET. The company didn't respond to a request for comment. 

Update at 2:21 p.m. PT: With more details on Page's invitation.