As Big Tech faces more controversy, Google finds its voice
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As Big Tech faces more controversy, Google finds its voice

Alphabet Inc., the Silicon Valley tech giant that owns Google, has finally found its voice. The company faced criticism recently when it failed to send senior staffers to testify at a senate hearing. Now, CEO Sundar Pichai will appear at another Capitol Hill hearing – as well as partake in discussions with President Donald Trump and other internet “stakeholders”.

Alphabet Inc.’s share price has appreciated by 14% so far this year

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SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

After a few meetings at the end of last week, a number of VIPs praised Pichai’s attendance – and were clear about the topics under discussion. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, made the following comments after Pichai met with a dozen Republican lawmakers last week: “This is the start of a conversation that I believe is long overdue -- and that responsibility falls on both sides. As big tech’s business grows, we have not had enough transparency and that has led to an erosion of trust and perhaps worse -- harm to consumers.”

Google has come under fire from the President, as well as other high-ranking Republicans, for censoring right wing views and prioritising democratic voices on its search engine and elsewhere. The company, of course, stringently denies any political motivation – and it is not the only internet giant to face such accusations. Another company that has come under criticism for the same thing is Facebook, and this week, its bad year got worse.

In the last few days, Facebook has announced possibly the biggest data breach on its site. 50 million accounts have been affected, and (because of the way Facebook is coded) its platform’s vulnerabilities have extended to third party apps that integrate with it (Instagram, Tinder, and more). This is the last thing Facebook needs, of course – but it’s also bad news (on a much smaller scale) for the rest of Big Tech. Observers are concerned that, after a dicey start to 2018 for the sector, Facebook’s lack of rigour will reflect badly on all of them.

With that in mind, it is even more important that Google stands up and speaks to its critics. In a statement he made following a meeting with policy makers, Pichai said: "As we’ve done for over a decade, including testifying to Congress 22 times since 2008, we remain committed to continuing an active dialogue with members from both sides of the aisle. I am personally committed to testifying before the House Judiciary Committee in due course.”

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alphabet Inc. in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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