Guess Which Congressman Thought a Malfunctioning iPhone Was Google CEO Sundar Pichai's Fault

"Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company."


Douglas Christian/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Today's congressional hearing on Google and tech privacy provided yet another opportunity for America's elected representatives to prove how little they know about the businesses they would like to regulate.

Rep. Steve King (R–Iowa) did not disappoint. He related an anecdote involving his 7-year-old granddaughter, who was playing with an iPhone when an image of King accompanied by crude language appeared on the screen. "How does that show up on a 7-year-old's iPhone who's playing a kid's game?"

Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who had been summoned to Capitol Hill to testify before the House Judiciary Committee, matter-of-factly answered, "Congressman, iPhone is made by a different company."

King then attempted to save face by suggesting, "maybe it was an Android."

This exchange was characteristic of the entire three-hour event, in which Pichai repeatedly shot down Republican claims that Google's search results are biased against President Trump and conservatives. Rep. Lamar Smith (R­­­–Texas), for instance, asked Pichai to explain why "96 percent of the references to Trump are from liberal media?" The CEO noted that this was simply not true. Rep Matt Gaetz (R–Fla.) insisted that Google should investigate employees for wanting to classify right-wing websites as hate speech—even though Google is a private company, and can set whatever internal investigation policies it sees fit.

Others were better informed. Rep. Keith Rothus (R­–Penn.) hailed Google as a "success story of America's free enterprise system." Rep. Ted Lieu (D­–Calif.) even suggested that those accusing Google of bias were wasting time, since it's a private company and can do as it pleases.

On the whole, Congress once again gave the public plenty of reason to doubt that greater government regulation of tech giants and social media will produce desirable results.