The Senate tears into Google for refusing to send a top exec to testify - and even left an empty chair and name tag to highlight their displeasure
- Alphabet CEO Larry Page declined to attend the Senate Intelligence hearing on election security, despite appearances from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
- The committee left an empty chair open for Google to put their absence on display, and Senators tore into the company in their opening remarks, criticizing the company's absence.
WASHINGTON - Larry Page, the Chief Executive Officer of Alphabet, declined the invitation to appear before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Wednesday, despite testimonies from his industry peers, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
The absence of Google was a major disappointment for lawmakers on the committee, who kept an empty seat open in the hearing room to exhibit the company's lack of participation.
Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the chairman of the committee, immediately tore into Google for not participating.
In a jab at Google as it relates to election security, Burr said, "The committee takes this issue very seriously, and we appreciate that Facebook and Twitter are represented here this morning with an equivalent and appropriate measure of seriousness."
Burr also acknowledged Google's "commendable work" in past participation with the committee and election security.
The ranking Democrat on the committee, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner, said in his opening remarks that he is "extremely disappointed" that neither Page nor Google CEO Sundar Pichai attended.
"I know our members have a series of difficult questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google's platforms that we will need answered," Warner said. "From Google Search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies….To YouTube, where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos….To Gmail, where state-sponsored operatives attempt countless hacking attempts, Google has an immense responsibility in this space."
"Given its size and influence, I would have thought the leadership at Google would want to demonstrate how seriously it takes these challenges and to lead this important public discussion," Warner added.
Despite not sending its top brass to testify before the committee, Google Senior Vice President, Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker submitted a written testimony for the record, which did not address their absence.
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