Facebook (FB) COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter (TWTR) CEO Jack Dorsey took to Capitol Hill on Wednesday to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding their companies’ efforts to counter disinformation campaigns by foreign governments seeking to influence U.S. elections.
Google (GOOG, GOOGL) leadership, however, was conspicuously absent from the hearing much to the committee’s ire. Instead, the company chose to submit written testimony. As a result, Google appeared to send the message that the meeting was unimportant. Of course, skipping the hearing spared the company from having to comment on its attempts to develop a new search engine for the Chinese market, as well.
“I’m disappointed Google decided against sending the right senior level executive to participate in what I truly expect to be a productive discussion,” Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr (R, NC) said in his opening statement.
The Intelligence Committee originally sought to bring Larry Page, CEO of Google parent Alphabet, in to testify, though the company decided against that or having Google CEO Sundar Pichai speak. Instead, Google’s Chief Legal Officer and Head of Global Affairs Kent Walker submitted the company’s testimony to the committee.
According to TechCrunch, Google informed the Intelligence Committee in July that it would be sending Walker to the hearing, and was under the impression at that time that doing so would be sufficient. The senators clearly felt differently.
Bashing the big G
Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) hit Google especially hard saying, “I’m deeply disappointed that Google, one of the most influential digital platforms in the world, chose not to send its own top corporate leadership to engage this committee. Because I know our members have a series of difficult questions about structural vulnerabilities on a number of Google’s platforms that we’ll need answers for.”
Warner continued, “From Google Search, which continues to…
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