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Google CEO Sundar Pichai is meeting with GOP lawmakers this week

Key Points
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he would meet with members of Congress "on both sides of the aisle."
  • Pichai will reportedly address issues including the firm's business dealings in China and allegations of political bias.
  • The news comes after Google snubbed Congress, refusing to send a top-tier executive to a hearing on Capitol Hill.
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Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai will meet privately with top Republican lawmakers this week, the company confirmed to CNBC.

"I look forward to meeting with members on both sides of the aisle, answering a wide range of questions, and explaining our approach," Pichai said in an emailed statement on Tuesday.

"These meetings will continue Google's long history of engaging with Congress, including testifying seven times to Congress this year."

The news, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes after Google snubbed Congress last month, refusing to send a top-tier executive to a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The company, owned by tech conglomerate Alphabet, was derided by U.S. politicians for not sending C-suite executives like Pichai and Alphabet CEO Larry Page. A chair was left vacant where a Google representative would have sat during the hearing.

Google's boss will address issues ranging from the firm's business dealings in China to allegations of political bias at the meeting with GOP officials. The meeting was organized by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

"Google has a lot of questions to answer about reports of bias in its search results, violations of user privacy, anticompetitive behavior, and business dealings with repressive regimes like China," McCarthy said in a statement.

"Google CEO Sundar Pichai has kindly agreed to field Congress's questions with Republican members on Friday. This meeting will inform the Judiciary Committee hearing that will be scheduled later this fall."

The WSJ reported that Pichai plans to appear at a House Judiciary Committee hearing in November following the mid-term elections.

Political bias, China censorship

Google and other social media firms have been under fire from conservative lawmakers in the U.S. over claims that the internet giant is biased against and censors right-leaning viewpoints.

The issue has provoked the ire of President Donald Trump, who late last month claimed the company rigs search results in favour of negative coverage about him. Trump suggested regulatory action would be taken against the company, saying it "will be addressed."

A report that Google employees reportedly discussed ways of altering the company's search algorithm to show pages on how to counter Trump's controversial travel ban will likely further fuel Trump's line of argument. Google told CNBC in an emailed statement last week that the company never manipulated search results "to promote a particular political ideology".

Big tech companies including Google and Facebook could reportedly be the target of an executive order being drafted by the Trump administration that would direct government agencies to investigate them over antitrust violations.

Google is also facing public scrutiny over a report that it intends to launch a censored search engine in China. According to digital news publication The Intercept, the tech giant's Chinese search product would put websites and search terms related to human rights, democracy, religion and peaceful protest on a blacklist.

But CEO Pichai has dismissed speculation around its activity in China, saying the company is "not close" to launching a search product there.