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Google CEO touts 'integrity' of products before House testimony

Political bias plays no role in his leadership, Sundar Pichai says in written testimony.

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai is scheduled to appear before Congress on Tuesday to answer questions related to alleged political bias within the company.
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Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Monday said the web giant works hard to safeguard the integrity of its products, a day before he's expected to appear before Congress to answer questions about the company's social media practices.

Pichai is scheduled to appear Tuesday before the House Judiciary Committee to address allegations of bias against conservatives on the company's platforms. In written testimony (PDF) made public by the committee on Monday, Pichai denied political bias plays a part in how he leads the company.

"We work hard to ensure the integrity of our products, and we've put a number of checks and balances in place to ensure they continue to live up to our standards," Pichai wrote. "I lead this company without political bias and work to ensure that our products continue to operate that way. To do otherwise would go against our core principles and our business interests."

Google is among a handful of tech companies that have drawn flak for the perception that they reflect a liberal bias. In August, President Donald Trump took to Twitter to accuse Google of manipulating search results to suppress conservative viewpoints – a charge Google has denied.

Pichai's appearance before the committee comes a few months after reports that Google employees discussed changes to the company's web search functions to counter the Trump administration's controversial travel ban that went into effect last year.

It also follows the publication earlier this year of a video from 2016 that shows Google co-founder Sergey Brin telling a company gathering that he felt offended by the results of the 2016 US presidential election.

The hearing was originally scheduled for last week but was postponed due to a state funeral for former President George H.W. Bush. Pichai skipped a high-profile tech hearing in September that included Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

Aside from questions of conservative bias, lawmakers are expected to ask Pichai about Project Dragonfly, an effort to build a censored search engine for China. Lawmakers are also expected to press Google on data collection, including a bug that left users' personal information exposed on its Google+ social network for two years. After the bug was disclosed, Google announced it would shut down the social network next year. On Monday, the company announced a new Google+ bug

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