In his first line of questioning for Google during a Senate hearing on Tuesday, Senator Ted Cruz, R-Tx., displayed a Google presentation dated 2018 suggesting that tech firms, including Google, were moving away from unmediated free speech and toward censorship.
Google Vice President for Government Affairs & Public Policy, Karan Bhatia appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee to discuss censorship through search engines on Tuesday. Google has faced concern from Republican politicians including Senator Cruz, who allege the company censors right-leaning search results.
Cruz showed a presentation slide that read "Tech firms are performing a balancing act between two incompatible positions." The slide included logos from Facebook, Twitter, Google YouTube (which is also owned by Google). The balance illustration described an ideal balance of "unmediated marketplaces of ideas" and "well-ordered spaces for safety and civility."
Google 2018 internal document that shows tech firms balancing act.
The following slide showed a tilt toward censorship:
A 2018 Internal Google document brought out by senator Ted Cruz during censorship hearings at Capitol Hill.
U.S. judiciary committee hearing
In response to Cruzs questions about whether the illustration was real, Bhatia stammered and admitted it was. But he said that he thought the internal documents came from marketing teams who were brainstorming and not reflective of the company as a whole.
This was a big test for Bhatia, a former senior official for the George W. Bush administration. Its his first testimony before Congress since joining Google about a year ago. Bhatia already hinted at his arguments in preemptive opinion article he wrote Monday for FoxNews.com. He was visibly nervous early on in the hearing.
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