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Leaked Google video fuels conservative claims of political bias from tech giants

A video showing Google's top executives perturbed by the election of President Donald Trump was leaked on We...

Posted: Sep 14, 2018 8:31 AM
Updated: Sep 14, 2018 8:31 AM

A video showing Google's top executives perturbed by the election of President Donald Trump was leaked on Wednesday to the far-right website Breitbart, intensifying a swell of erroneous claims from Republicans that technology companies are biased against conservatives.

The hour-long video captured Google executives, who were speaking at a regular weekly meeting that is streamed to employees across the world, lamenting the election of Trump because it stood in contrast to some of the company's values.

Executives who appeared on stage at the meeting included Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive; Sergey Brin and Larry Page, Google co-founders; Ruth Porat, Google's chief financial officer; Kent Walker, Google's senior vice president of global affairs; and Eileen Naughton, Google's vice president of people operations.

"As an immigrant and a refugee, I certainly find this election deeply offensive and I know many of you do too," Brin said at the top of the meeting. "I think it's a very stressful time. It conflicts with many of our values. It's a good time to reflect on that."

Prior to the leaking of the video, it was no secret that some of Google's executives held liberal views. The video, however, did not provide any evidence that would indicate Google as a search engine discriminates against users based on their political views.

Related: Trump props up false claim that big tech is out to silence conservatives

In a statement, a Google spokesperson said, "At a regularly scheduled all hands meeting, some Google employees and executives expressed their own personal views in the aftermath of a long and divisive election season."

"For over 20 years, everyone at Google has been able to freely express their opinions at these meetings," the statement continued. "Nothing was said at that meeting, or any other meeting, to suggest that any political bias ever influences the way we build or operate our products."

"To the contrary, our products are built for everyone, and we design them with extraordinary care to be a trustworthy source of information for everyone, without regard to political viewpoint," the statement concluded.

The Google spokesperson did not respond to answer additional questions not addressed in the company's statement. A request to speak to any of the executives featured in the leaked video was also not returned.

Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, suggested in a tweet that the leaked video demonstrated that Google is a "threat to the Republic." Parscale called for Congress to hold hearings and investigate the matter.

Related: Trump slams Google search as 'rigged' — but it's not

Trump has previously accused Google of rigging its results to show "bad" stories when users search for "Trump news." He suggested the search engine giant's actions could be "illegal" and Larry Kudlow, the White House economic adviser, said the Trump administration would be "taking a look" at the issue.

The video of the Google meeting was leaked to Breitbart as Republicans ramp up attacks on technology giants for supposedly incorporating a bias against conservatives in their products.

Last week, Republican lawmakers questioned Jack Dorsey, chief executive and co-founder of Twitter, about whether his company treated individuals with a conservative ideology unfairly.

Previously, Republican lawmakers held hearings about the so-called practice of "social media filtering."

At the first hearing earlier this year, pro-Trump social media personalties "Diamond & Silk," who erroneously accused Facebook of censoring their page, were invited to testify. Republicans like Steve King of Iowa cited articles from form right-wing outlets like the Gateway Pundit to accuse social media companies of bias against conservatives.

In July, the House Judiciary Committee held a second hearing on the matter. The same episode repeated itself, with Republican lawmakers asking tech executives about so-called bias against conservative users.

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