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Congress Claims Google ‘Keeps Users In Walled Garden’ At Big Tech Hearing

Yesterday, the US Congress Antitrust Subcommittee grilled Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, about how the search engine operated.

The Chairman of the Antitrust Subcommittee Representative David Cicilline accused Google of taking content from other websites and displaying it on their own search engine pages, thereby keeping users on their own pages, enabling them to make more money from advertising.

This is an issue that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is looking into this same issue, seeking to establish a mandatory code that would force tech giants Google and Facebook to pay local media companies for content they use on their pages.

“The evidence seems very clear to me, as Google became the gateway to the internet, it began to abuse its power and use its surveillance over the web traffic to identify competitive threats and crush them,” Cicillne said.

“Our documents show that Google evolved from a turnstile to the rest of the web to a walled garden that increasingly keeps users within its sights.”

Pichai rejected this notion, stating that the tech giant actually supports 1.4 million small businesses.

The US Department of Justice is expected to announce a case against Google for alleged antitrust violation in online advertising soon.

In yesterday’s hearing Pichai also gave rich detail on his own personal story to strengthen his case, telling the committee about how he did not have access to a computer as a child in India, highlighting the tools that Google provides for free to users across the globe.

Pichai also faced hostility from Republican members, such as Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio, who asked Pichai whether Google would use its features to help Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden in the Presidential race.

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