While Democrats have largely gone after the tech CEOs for their use of data and behavior toward other competitors in the marketplace, Republicans during the hearing have consistently alleged a pattern of anti-conservative bias by the tech companies, despite little more than anecdotal evidence.
GOP lawmakers’ strategy seems clear: To encourage the media to cover claims of ideological bias as equivalent in gravity and stature to antitrust issues. But researchers have consistently failed to turn up evidence of systemic bias on the part of the platforms’ technology.
At one point, Rep. Gregory Steube, a Florida Republican, confronted Pichai, portraying as an example of bias what may have been a simple technical problem. Steube said that his congressional campaign emails to supporters, including his parents, have often been blocked or sent to Gmail’s spam folder.
“There’s nothing in the algorithm that has anything to do with political ideology,” Pichai said. “We do get complaints across the aisle.”
As if to underscore the point, Rep. Val Demings added, “for the record, I’m a Democrat from Florida and I’ve had heard complaints about my email going to spam as well.”