What They Are Saying: Widespread Bipartisan Support For Free Market, Keeping Government Out Of Search Regulation
Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the House Judiciary Committee this morning, debunking the false claims of bias in search and outlining Google’s role as a online platform.
Below are excerpts from commentary surrounding the hearing:
—Arguments that Google is biased against conservatives were roundly criticized by tech policy experts, advocacy organizations, and journalists
—There was a bipartisan effort to note that any effort to regulate private companies’ political leanings would violate the First Amendment as well as Section 230 of the CDA
—Commentators and lawmakers pointed out Google is a capitalist success story and attempts to overregulate it could cause collateral damage
—Policymakers’ comments on privacy prompted experts to clarify the workings of data collection and privacy toggles
Arguments that Google is biased against conservatives were roundly criticized by tech policy experts, advocacy organizations, and journalists.
—Brian Stelter, CNN: At the #GoogleHearing, Rep. Smith is bringing up debunked claims that have been pushed by President Trump. Here, @LamarSmithTX21: “No, 96% of Google news stories on Trump AREN’T from left-wing outlets.” (Link)
—Shoshana Weissmann, R Street Institute: [email protected], paraphrased: The point of a search is to discriminate among search results to find the best answer I appreciate that focus and phrasing. Too many people see “discrimination” as a bad thing. But it’s necessary and just part of reasoning #googlehearing
—Jim Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute: Would a “fair” search engine — one whose business relies on providing users the most useful, relevant, and authoritative news results — somehow rank Infowars and ZeroHedge as highly as Bloomberg, CNBC, and Reuters?
—Alex Griswold, Washington Free Beacon: Even the creator of the “study” being cited at today’s congressional hearing on Google says they shouldn’t be citing it
—Will Ritter, Poolhouse Agency: Not following this Google questioning Q: Are you guys biased? Putting your fingers on the scales?! A: No, it’s an unbiased computer algorithm. Q: Why aren’t you putting your fingers on the scales to make the Google output more in line with things I want? (Link)
—Will Duffield, Cato Institute: The Epstein paper alleging pro-Clinton search bias mentioned by @LamarSmithTX21 is conspiratorial junk. No peer review, 95 participants, effect only appears when gmail respondents are excluded. #googlehearing (Link)
—Competitive Enterprise Institute: “Claims that Google suppresses conservative views on its platform are utterly lacking in evidence, despite conspiracy theories alleging the contrary.” CEI’s @RyanRadia disputes these claims. @Google (Link)
—Melissa Ryan, Hope Not Hate: Am I listening to a member of Congress or Alex Jones? Because this is some serious conspiracy mongering from @mattgaetz right now. #Googlehearing #techhearings
—Roger Cheng, CNET News: Rep @tedlieu calls a significant portion of this Google hearing a waste of time, specifically the discussion of bias. #GoogleHearing
—Berin Szoka, TechFreedom: [email protected] is finally hitting on the key issue: the difference between bias (different outcomes for similar speakers) and variance (different outcomes for speakers that seem similar but actually aren’t) But he misses the point: it’s not just about outcomes… #GoogleHearing
—Will Rinehart, American Action Forum: I get @RepSteveChabot’s worries, but he is advancing a balance-as-bias thesis. That is, the lack of showing both sides means there is bias. The seminal article on this topic is from Boykoff & Boykoff #GoogleHearing (Link)
—Charlie Warzel, Buzzfeed News: i really like the self-own of congressmen being like “every time i search for myself all i see is really bad news!”
—Jennifer Huddleston Skees, Mercatus Center: Today Google’s CEO is set to testify today. One topic that is likely to come up is the supposed bias of such online intermediaries towards conservatives; however, as I wrote back in Sept.calls for an online Fairness Doctrine are misguided. (Link)
There was a bipartisan effort to note that any effort to regulate private companies’ political leanings would violate the First Amendment as well as Section 230 of the CDA.
—Ashken Kazaryan, TechFreedom: [email protected] “Significant portion of this hearing was a waste of time because the First Amendment protects private individuals and corporations’ free speech rights” #GoogleHearing YASSS PREACH!!! #CONLAW101
—Berin Szoka, TechFreedom: This is what I said in my April testimony. And @TedLieu made the very same point then. Amen. Here’s why the First Amendment bars the gov’t from doing anything about “social media bias”: #GoogleHearing (Link)
—Berin Szoka, TechFreedom: Read my testimony here on why a “Fairness Doctrine Internet” would violate the First Amendment and backfire against the very conservatives pushing for it[.] The same kind of conservatives who opposed the FCC Fairness Doctrine for decades #GoogleCEO (Link)
—Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California): At GOP controlled @HouseJudiciary Committee hearing with @Google CEO Sundar Pichai. Much of this hearing will be stupid and a waste of time. Why? Because the First Amendment prevents government from regulating the content of speech of non-governmental entities.
—Jeffrey Westling, R Street Institute: #section230 allows companies to take these steps to promote a more sustainable community without fear of liability for content it decides not to remove.
—Taxpayers Protection Alliance: Section 230 is necessary for companies to protect their intellectual property, while still facilitating free expression and innovation. #GoogleHearing
Commentators and lawmakers pointed out Google is a capitalist success story and attempts to overregulate it could cause collateral damage.
—Competitive Enterprise Institute: Don’t blame @Google for a feature consumers want. –> “The choice not to see a video is the viewer’s, not Google’s or Youtube’s. This is exactly as it should be—the consumer makes the choice.” #googlehearing @ismurray (Link)
—Brent Skorup, Mercatus Center: Google’s Pichai will testify before Congress today. As @MichaelKotrous and I wrote re: the Zuckerberg hearing this summer: “Bipartisan outrage paired with a false urgency to punish Silicon Valley is a recipe for government overreach and bad policy.”
—Rep. Keith Rothfus, R-Pennsylvania: “Your company should really be held out as a success story of America’s free enterprise system.”
—Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R- Virginia: “Despite the nature and scope of today’s hearing, Google is still the story of the American dream.”
—Rep. Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana: “We do not want to impose burdensome regulations on your industry.”
Policymakers’ comments on privacy prompted experts to clarify the workings of data collection and privacy toggles.
—Daniel Castro, ITIF: Here’s the Google Privacy Checkup @sundarpichai is talking about: It really is a pretty clear tool for users. Also wrong to ask whether users know about it. Key is whether users care enough to go there but can’t find it. (Link)
—Will Rinehart, American Action Forum: I think that @JudgeTedPoe’s framing here is important to break down. Does Google “know” about my iPhone movements? If Google can “know” that means it an agent with some interior knowledge. In the past, I’ve dubbed this technoanimism #GoogleHearing (Link)
—Ashken Kazaryan, TechFreedom: [email protected] asks if Google tracks his movements with his iPhone in his hands if he moves to the other side of the room. @sundarpichai tries to explain that depends if he has google apps on his iPhone and is opted in. This is why we need tech experts to explain to members 1/2
—Berin Szoka, TechFreedom: OK, finally we’re talking about transparency–an area where regulation could actually pass muster under the First Amendment If the problem is surreptitious collection of location data… that’s already illegal. Read Goldenshores #GoogleHearing #GoogleCEO (Link)
—Rob Pegoraro, TechFreedom: Rep. Ted Poe of Texas angrily asks Pichai if his phone will report if he walks across the room (Pichai says he’d need to check phone settings), then complains that the U.S. is “playing second fiddle” to Europe in privacy regulation. Poe is A. Republican. From. Texas.