Skip to main content

tv   Senate Judiciary Hearing on Google Censorship Part 2  CSPAN  August 20, 2019 1:41pm-2:54pm EDT

1:41 pm
for now, the committee is temporarily recessed. >> good afternoon everyone and welcome back.
1:42 pm
i'd ask each of the witnesses for the second panel to please take your seats. i apologize for that delay. we went through the three votes we had. we will now begin the second panel of five witnesses. each witness will have a five-minute opening statement followed by rounds of questions. our first witness is mister dennis prager. dennis prager is a best-selling author, columnist, nationally syndicated radio talk show host and also the cofounder of prager university, an institution of higher learning on the internet which produces five-minute videos in which experts distill complex topics in political science, history, philosophy, economics and psychology. mister prager was appointed by ronald reagan to the us delegation to the vienna review conference on the helsinki accords . he was also appointed by george w. bush to the us
1:43 pm
holocaust memorial council. our second witness is facing kint, ceo of digital content, a trade association that serves the unique needs of digital content companies . before joining digital content next in 2014, mister kint served in various executive roles including a general manager and senior vice president at cbs interactive and as the director of online publishers association. he is a graduate of washington university in st. louis . our third witness is mister andy parker, mister parker is the father of allison parker. in 2015 allison was tragically shot and killed during a live tv broadcast. mister parker now travels across the country to advocate on gun control issues and he has been working tirelessly to remove footage of his daughter's murder fromyoutube and other internet sites . mister parker recently published a book about his
1:44 pm
daughter's life and legacy entitled for allison, the murder of a young journalist and a father's for gun safety. our third witness is doctor francesca tripodi who is a professor of sociology at james madison university and an affiliated researcher data and society. doctor tripodi's research focuses on how partisan groups interact with themedia and the role that community plays in understanding what constitutes news and information . she received a phd and na from the university of virginia, and na in communication, culture and technology from georgetown university and a ba in communications from the university of southern california. our final witness is doctor robert epstein. doctor epstein is an author, editor and longtime psychology researcher and professor. he is currently a senior
1:45 pm
research psychologist at the american institute for behavioral research and technology. and he is a contributing editor for the scientific american mind . he is also the founder and director emeritus of the cambridge center for behavioral studies in massachusetts and a former editor in chief of psychology today. mister prager, we will start withyou . >> microphone. >> okay. >> you would think a radio host would know how to work one. >> you would. that is avery fine point, i have no response . i will take just a moment, because my opening comment is under five minutes to respond on the issue of the 10 commandments video was placed on the restricted list igoogle. a representative from google mentioned that a reason that it would be on the restricted
1:46 pm
list was that it contains mentions of murder. so i was thinking i have a solution that will i think appeal to google. i will rerelease it as a nine commandments. that should solve the problem of including murder in my discussion of the 10 commandments and as regards to the swastika, there is a swastika. it is again in the commandment of do not murder where in i show that murder, there are people who believe murder is all right even today and i use the swastika and the hammer and sickle as two examples. i would think we would want young people toassociate the swastika with evil . that was why i had a swastika. it was an honor to be invited to speak in the united states senate, but i wish i were not so honored because the
1:47 pm
subject of this hearing, google and youtube and for that matter twitter and facebook's suppression of internet contact on ideological grounds threatens the future of america more than any other external enemy . in fact, never in american history has there been a stronger threat to freedom of speech as there is today. before addressing this however i think it important that you know a bit about me and the organization i cofounded. prager university, prager you add is referred to. iwas born in brooklyn , my late father max prager was a cpa and an orthodox jew volunteered in the navy at the start of world war ii. my father's senior class pieces at city college was on anti-semitism in america. yet despite his keen awareness of the subject, he believed that jews living in america were the luckiest jews to have ever lived. he was right.
1:48 pm
having taught jewish history at brooklyn college, written a book on anti-semitism and fought jew hatred my whole life, i thank god for living in america and it breaks my heart a vast number of young americans have not only not been taught how lucky they are to beamericans , but have been taught either how unlucky they are or how ashamed they should be. it breaks my heart for them, because contempt for one's country leaves a hole in one's soul and because ungrateful people always come unhappy and angry people. and it breaks my heart for america because no good country can survive when it's people have contempt for it. i have been communicating this appreciation of america for 35 years as a radio talkshow host, the last 20 international syndication with the salem radio network, an organization that is a
1:49 pm
blessing in american life. one reason i started prager you was to communicate america's moral purpose and achievements, both the young americans and the young people around the world. with the billion views a year and with more than half of the viewers under age 35, prager university has achieved some success. my philosophy of life is easily summarized. god wants us to be good. god without goodness is fanaticism and business without god will not long endure. everything i and prager university do emanates from belief in the importance of being a good person. that some label is extreme or haters only reflects on the character and the broken moral compass of those making such accusations. they are the haters and extremists.
1:50 pm
prager u. releases a five-minute video every week. presenters included three former prime ministers, four pulitzer prize winners, liberals, conservatives, gays, blacks, latinos, atheists, believers, jews, muslims and professors and scientists from mit, harvard, stanford and a dozen other universities. you think the secretary-general of nato or the former prime ministers norway, canada or spain or the late charles krauthammer or philiphamburger, distinguished professor of law at columbia would make a video for an extreme or hate filled site ?the idea is not onlypreposterous, it is a smear .yet google which owns youtube has restricted access to 56 of our 305th 325 minute videos and other videos we produced. restricted means families
1:51 pm
that have a filter to avoid pornography and violence cannot see that video. it also means no school or library can show that video. will as even restricted access to a video on the 10 commandments as we have seen. yes, the 10 commandments. we have repeatedly asked google our videos are restricted . no explanation is ever given but of course, we know why. because they come from a conservative perspective. liberals and conservatives ever on many issues but they have always agreed that free speech is to be preserved. while the left has never supported free speech, liberals always have. i therefore appeal to liberals to join us in fighting on behalf of america's crowning glory, free speech. otherwise, i promise you one day you will say first they came after conservatives, and i said nothing. and then they came after me and there was no one left to
1:52 pm
speak up for me. thank you. >> thank you mister prager, mister kint. >> good afternoon senator cruz, ranking member hirono and members of the committee. thank you for the opportunity to appear before you. i am the ceo of digital content here to speak on high-quality digital publishers. dc and is the only association exclusively focused on the future of publishing. members include some of the most trusted brands on the web, hundreds large and small, old and new from the wall street journal to the new york times . warner media , nbc and fox and digital publishers like the insider and igr and the texas tribune. i was invited here today to address google, a company which reaches billions of people across its platforms on which it determines the
1:53 pm
rules and limits access to its massive data. at the same time, google leverages this data to compete against those who depend on its platforms. the web was supposed to be competitive and open but it's simply lost most of that vision as google's dominance has is the primary gatekeeper to any digital content business in four ways which i'll cover today area i'll call them for d's. discovery and design of the content and the data and the dollars that come from consuming the content . first, discovery. prior to my move to washington i spent 20 years running digital media businesses like publishers today we had entire teams focused on optimizing content for the maximum clicks from google search area as it controls more than 90 percent of the search market. over time, google has pushed search results are the first screen in favor of more lucrative google ads and google's own properties. second, design. will more than any company
1:54 pm
influences the design of our members content. google's web browser chrome is responsible for 60 percent of the traffic on theweb . therefore publishers design their websites to work best inside of google's browser. with the increase of mobile device usage, google even developed its own code for the mobile web which promises even better search results or the publishers who choose to adopt it, furthering their grip on the web. third, data. personal data is collected and used two micro target users across the web as cheaply as possible . our industry opaque data-driven ecosystem as mostly benefited intermediaries, primarily google. at the expense of publishers and advertisers. last month for the first time we saw empirical research that demonstrated this. google's revenue concentration ties directly to its ability to collect data in ways that no one else can. it's important to understand
1:55 pm
google owns the top five domains on the web to track us on more than 75 percent of the top 1 million websites. ac much of what we do. data is the source ofgoogle's power and they leverage it to the hilt . with this in mind, industries rules around privacy and data are heavily determined by google's best interest. legal teams at publishers are forced to adopt google's rules or choose not to do business with google. in other words, there is no choice. finally and forth, the dollars. we've been on record since 2015 describing the duopoly of digital advertising where almost all the incremental growth in our industry is going to google and facebook but in the case of google, it has corner advertising server market. on the supply side advertising teams are optimizing for google's ad server and the often opaque business rules and measurements google establishes. on the demand side because
1:56 pm
google oversees more advertising demand in any of the top five advertising agencies, google is able to in effect set the prices of ads in the auction market. google determines the rules of their auctions if all knowledge whether or not they will help google or they will help publishers. it can't be both. to make matters worse, all these products in john google's algorithms which are shrouded in a proprietary black box of secrecy which absorbs most of the data cost and spit out profits according to how google decides to do them. in closing, i want to thank chairman cruz and ranking member hirono for convening the hearing. it's clear that google dominates the digital landscape and uses that dominance to enhance its own bottom line to the detriment of the marketplace and most importantly consumers. in the absence of meaningful competition or constraints, the question we as a society must be asking ourselves is whether we're comfortable
1:57 pm
with the world that google is creating for us. it's time to end google's trying to hold on digital media and i look forward to your questions thank you mister kint, mister parker. >> chairman and senator blackburn, thank you for hearing my testimony. in august 2015 my daughter journalist allison parker was shot and murdered while reporting on live television. the unimaginable pain by my family was amplified after the killer uploaded the first video of the murder to youtube. i pledged to honor my daughter's memory and advocate for sensible gun laws so that others wouldn't suffer the same fate as allison. in response to my advocacy, countless people have targeted me, my family and allison's boyfriend online blaming allison's death was part of a conspiracy to seize their guns. they have taken the gruesome footage of my daughter's murder, edited it into videos
1:58 pm
and flooded youtube and other social media platforms with eight filled diatribes maligning us . as the company with a virtual monopoly on internet search and online video hosting, google has a duty to make sure the information they make accessible to the world is based on facts and not harmful conspiracy theories . i implored google and youtube to take down the footage of her murder and the relatedconspiratorial content . their response was to suggest that i view and flag the content i found offensive. instead of self policing, they put the onus on me, in essence they wanted me to watch my daughter's murder and explain to a robot why it should be removed. i never have nor ever, nor will i ever watch any of it for obvious reasons. so in 2017 i reached out to lenny posner whose son was
1:59 pm
murdered in the sandy hook shooting and the honor network applied videos that i was aired. although hundreds of videos have been taken down due to their diligence, they are often stymied with even an enforceable copyright. i've engaged in direct medications with google regarding the proliferation of these videos but while they profess a desire to help , in reality they do nothing. on may 1 of this year, in the company of georgetown university rights law clinic i had a videoconference with representatives from google regarding specific content and our attempts to have it removed. their response was we're really trying. since that meeting there has been nothing but silence until coincidentally, not so but today, we got an email from themat 9:40 7 am .
2:00 pm
next to section 230, google has complete immunity and therefore no incentive to respond and you saw some of the examples earlier . and an utter failure of ai, one video was self flagged by google and the flag was removed . some videos were not removed and instead given the label this video may be inappropriate for some users area is also shown today which is tantamount to a perverse invitation to click and watch. the video has had over 700,000 views and specifically pointed out to google in our teleconference and it's still up as we speak . i understand that the general purpose of this hearing is to consider whether internet gatekeepers such as google should or should not censor the speech of the politically unpopular. however, it is important to note that turning a blind eye to targeted harassment over the internet in the name of
2:01 pm
preserving free speech has real world and life altering consequences . >> .. they must recognize the threats i faced was an attempt to intimidate me, prevent me from telling allison's story and speaking out against the violence and silence my free speech rights. i recognized the first amendment gives everyone the right to publicly speculate that the moon landing did not happen or that the earth is flat but there's a difference between someone venting about conspiracy three and google turning its problems over to anonymous users for them to target and harass victims of this tragedy. the former is free speech, the latter is violence.
2:02 pm
if more and more public tragedies and horrific mass shootings occur they will be recorded, broadcasted and disseminated on platforms like youtube like so much cheap entertainment for google to use to add a few more millions to their bottom line. google profits massively off lack of regulation. if it cannot properly protect citizens from online harassment he speech and moment of death videos i call on congress to step in and make sure that proper protections are in place for private citizens like me who are continually harassed and exploited. currently, platform like google or protected against civil or criminal liabilities under section 230 of the communications decency act. removing the section 230 protection will allow users to hold google responsible for the conspiratorial content it allows on the platforms. mr. chairman, there may not be a
2:03 pm
lot of issues you and i agree on philosophically, that is, but we do agree on this. we should protect the first amendment but it's time for google and social media to be regulated. the original founders as you mentioned earlier, had a motto, original motto was don't be evil. this model was replaced in 2015 by do the right thing. google fails miserably on both counts. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. parker. thank you for sharing your powerful story and powerful testament to your daughter. >> thank you. >> doctor. >> good evening. it is an honor to return before the senate committee to discuss my research. during the last hearing in today conservatives have claimed that google is biased. scholars such as doctor epstein
2:04 pm
argue that this bias has the capacity to swale elections. my research also confirms that people trust algorithmic outputs. but where we differ is that my research demonstrates that the phrases we choose are in coated with bias before they hit the browser. a system of logical frameworks shape what we will search for, how and why. simple shifts and syntax dramatically change what google will return to us. for example, in the fall of 2017 if one were to google nfl ratings down all of the top returns supported president trumps claims that the anthem protests hurt nfl ratings. however, if you searched nfl ratings up google returned entirely different headlines supporting the opposite position. when you google for information about conservative censorship the top returns are conservative news that support this claim. google prager you you get their
2:05 pm
website, twitter account, youtube channel and their wikipedia page. those interested in learning more from conservative thinkers have ample access to do so. my data show that users shape our own reality because we teach google what we want to see based on the keywords we entered. my findings also indicate the process of matching keywords to content can be gamed to maximize exposure. for example, the phrase aoc returns conservative videos on youtube, even though this is the twitter handle of representative alexandria ocasio-cortez. this is not accidental. by partnering with the data scientist i have obtained and analyzed to the metadata of 13 different youtube channels including thousands of videos and in this data you can see
2:06 pm
that fox news is 6.7 times more likely to use aoc as a search engine optimization tag them msnbc. thereby increase the probability that searching for the phrase will link audiences to conservative news coverage of a liberal politician. youtube has a vested interest in keeping people on the site for as long as possible and intentionally seized the content they can't stop watching. users also want to codify their content to maximize exposure. conservative channels cross promote guests and ideas in order to be these rhythmic connections. as a marketing strategy this is not nefarious but because they also host far right fingers and provide them a platform to validate their opinions it improvise those ideas, as well. that is because youtube is a social media network of content creators, future guests and users who, like or share the video.
2:07 pm
freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights designed by our forefathers and crucial for allowing americans to express both widely accepted and unpopular opinion without here of government punishment or censorship. however, privately held corporations like facebook, google and twitter are not the new public square. they are educated advertising firms design to profit from the data we provide to them. they are also spaces where people can create mass followings in those who want to profit from youtube must adhere to their terms of service. these terms are not written to disenfranchise conservatives. these policies were created in the interest of the party members of protection groups and design to reduce hatred harassment, discoloration and violence. in sum, what we get from google depends primarily on what we search.
2:08 pm
depending on what you search conservatism drives online. for progressive nonprofits conservatives media are the goliath with well-funded companies with large production budgets and sophisticated digital marketing campaigns. this is why youtube's top returns for phrases like gender identity or social justice are conservative videos. cook on these deals and youtube does not try to hear the audience left but out of place a steady stream of conservative ideas. simply put if content is readily available it is not being suppressed. what conservatives who are arguing censorship are frustrated with is not a constitutional right to free speech but is a grievance against a free market economy. the right for everyone to speak their ideas does not guarantee the right to captivate a large audience nor the right to profit
2:09 pm
from them. given how youtube tries to keep audiences on their platform i think we can all agree that a more pressing issue for this committee to pay attention to is how metadata can amplify hate speech, pedophilia, conspiracy theories and disinformation. thank you so much for your time. >> thank you. doctor epstein. >> please turn your microphone on. >> i am indeed doctor epstein and the most of her thing for you to know about me is that i'm the father of five wonderful children. as it happens i'm a research psychologist at the american institute for behavioral research and technology. i have been center, center left my whole adult life. but i value my country and democracy more than i value any party or candidate.
2:10 pm
that is why i'm speaking out today. i'm here to explain why google poses a serious threat to democracy and help monitoring systems can protect us from companies like google and how congress can immediately and google's worldwide monopoly on search. my plan for ending that monopoly was published just yesterday in business week. i respectfully request that my article be entered into the congressional record and it's attached to my full testimony. >> it will be entered without objection. >> i've been research psychologist for nearly 40 years and my phd is from harvard and since 1981 i published extensively on ai in other topics. some of my research is focused on google and the company's massive surveillance operations, censorship capabilities and unprecedented ability to manipulate the thinking of 2.5 billion people soon to be four plus million. i've written articles about
2:11 pm
google for time magazine, usa today, that kind of thing but also for the daily collar and news. i reached out to diverse audiences because i believe the threats posed by google and to a lesser extent, facebook, are so serious that everyone needs to know about them. here are three disturbing findings from my research which adheres to the very highest standards of scientific integrity. number one. in 2016 google's search algorithm likely impacted undecided voters in a way that shifted at least 2.6 million votes to hillary clinton whom i supported. i know this because i preserved more than 13000 election related searches prior to election day and google search results were significantly biased in favor of secretary clinton. i know the number of votes that
2:12 pm
shifted because i conducted dozens of controlled experiments that measure how opinions shift when the search results are biased. i called the shift the search engine manipulation affect first published in the preceding to the national academy of science in 2015. biased search results can easily produce shifts in the opinions and voting preferences of undecided voters by up to 80% in some demographic groups because people blindly trust high ranking search results over lower ones. it's an especially dangerous form of influence because it is, in effect, subliminal. it also leaves no paper trail for authorities to trace and an example of a short-lived or quote, ephemeral experience that is a phrase will find in internal e-mails that have leaked recently from google. i'm now studying 70 such manipulations like seam and
2:13 pm
unlike billboard or those russian placed at easement ablations are invisible and noncompetitive and controlled entirely by big tech companies and there is no way to counteract them. number two. on election day in 2018 the go vote reminder that google displayed on the homepage gave one political party at least 800,000 more votes than he gave the other party. that reminder was not a public service but it was a vote manipulation. number three. in the weeks leading up to the 2010 election bias in google search results may have shifted upwards of 78-point to million votes spread across many races to the candidates of one political party. this number is based on bias by
2:14 pm
my 2018th monitoring system which preserved after 47000 election related searches after a diverse voters. i know how to stop big tech in its track and that brings me briefly to monitoring systems in the proposal i published yesterday. 2015 phone call from the attorney general of mississippi prompted me to start a years long project in which i have learned how to capture online and femoral experiences. in early 2016 i deployed a system that allowed my team to look over people's shoulders as they conducted online searches with your permission and employed a more sophisticated system in 2018th and will build much more confidence of system in 2020 and one will allow us to catch big tech in the act to instantly spot when facebook is biasing newsfeeds or when twitter is suppressing tweets sent by ann coulter or elizabeth warren.
2:15 pm
this system must be built to keep an eye on big tech in 2020 because if these companies all support the same candidate they will have the power to shift 15 million votes to that candidate and to let big tech get away with subliminal minimization on the scale would be to make the free and fair election meaningless. finally, regarding yesterday's article congress can quickly and google's worldwide monopoly on search by declaring google's massive search index the database the company uses to generate search results to be a public comment accessible by a all, just as in 1956 consent to degree forced at&t to share all its [inaudible]. there's precedent in both law and google's business practices to justify taking this step which will make online search
2:16 pm
competitive again and dramatically diminished google's power worldwide. in 1961 eisenhower warned about the possible rise of a technological elite that would control public policy without people's awareness and that elite now exists and you must determine where we go from here. chairman cruz ranking member coronel mrs. blackburn, other members of the committee, democracy as originally conceived cannot survive big tech as currently empowered. look for to your questions. >> thank you very much for that fascinating testimony. senator blackburn has asked that she might go earlier so i will yield my turn to her and asked the questions later in this round neck thank you, mr. chairman. i appreciate that that we've got a telephone in tennessee and i did not want to miss hearing your testimony because this is a tremendously important topic and
2:17 pm
one it's time for congress to take action. to focus on like touch regulation to hold big tech responsible and mr. epstein, doctor epstein, i agree with you they are manipulators and it's not lost on meet the mark zuckerberg at some point said facebook works more like a government than a corporation and it is a very manipulative one. doctor tripodi, i will tell you i agree with you that they are messing with big nothing but big advertising companies and their business model is pretty much built on greed. mr. parker, i will say my heart breaks for you. i'm very much remember them very vividly remember seeing that footage with allison and i can only imagine as a mom and grandmom i can only imagine what
2:18 pm
you and your family have lived through and so i thank you for your courage in speaking up. mr. kint, i will take say to you privacy is important and i think probably it is time that we do something on privacy. i have had the [inaudible] act and i introduced that when i was in the house and it's like touch regulation but what it does is to give the consumer the opportunity to own as i call it their virtual you which is you in your presence online and gives you control over that and this body would be well advised to move forward with legislation such as that. mr. prager, i have been to your website and know your work. i share your frustration with
2:19 pm
google and youtube and i know you follow the lawsuit filed a lawsuit against both companies in 2017 and i feel for you and sharing your frustration. as you probably know i have borne the worst of google's culture and their corporate culture and their employees political bias. yes, indeed, doctor tripodi you and i could have a good discussion. they do bring that bias to work and it does inform those algorithms. one of their senior engineers actually singled me out for my political views and then doubled down on that. then google came along and refused to put up an ad from the tennessee republican party in support of my campaign. it's their bias, yes. have i experienced firsthand, yes it yes, i have. mr. prager, i have just a couple
2:20 pm
questions before we move on. i want to go through these quickly. how did google and youtube censorship on your ability to communicate your message online? >> it is fairly evident, if things cannot be seen by any family that restricts pornography and violence and if no school can see it by definition if it's on the restricted list and if no library can show it that is a very serious restriction, especially given that our target audience is young people so they are the depriving us of the very people we most want to touch with our message. that is pretty dramatic. >> how did your viewership go down after they restricted you? >> i can't give you a number. there's no way of knowing what number of people are in homes that have already have the
2:21 pm
filters and don't even, therefore know about a video because it can be accessed but we know many teachers tried to show our videos in classes and they come up but can't do it through school. >> what explanation has google given you? >> you used the great word, frustration. we have gotten known. it is almost unbelievable because if you look at the list -- like the ten commandments being a perfect example of how you got to be kidding i finally found out today you didn't. we all heard representative of google told us why the ten commandments video was taken down because it contains murder. as i said we have a solution for it will put up one without thou shalt not murder in it. that is so absurd as to be hilarious. this will soon be something i will replay on my radio show for years. that was the level of absurdity and i feel like i'm in a monty python skit here when he says something like that. the only possible explanation
2:22 pm
for all of this is they don't like prager you because were of influential conservative voice touching a lot of lies. there is no other explanation. >> i thank you all. my time has expired but thank you for your attention to the issue. mr. chairman, thank you for the focus on this i yield my time. >> thank you. senator hirono. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. parker, you have all our embassies for what you've been going through. you did hear the google witnesses say that they are proactively eliminating these kind of content and you said that you testified that they are doing nothing and they've done nothing. >> yes. that is correct. in his testimony it was not accurate at all. they're not doing anything.
2:23 pm
they continue -- you heard a lot of responses from him today that tap danced around your questions. it is similar to what i've experienced over the last two and half years. >> mr. parker then is this still on you basically and you have hired someone to help you because it's an engineer to help you specializes in ai to help track down copies -- >> i've gotten, thankfully, volunteers. there's a gentleman here that's an engineer whose flagged a lot of these videos and another guy in his group flagged videos but essentially, yeah, the onus is still on me and the people within the volunteers to take this stuff down. when they do quote unquote sell or find something there was one that literally it was like to be taken down and then two days later it was back up again.
2:24 pm
>> in listening to both your perspective and the google witness there's obviously not a meeting of the minds. it bears further inquiry. i understand the tv station that was involved has given you the copyright to the video in order to assist your efforts. why did they resort to you reclaiming copyright infringement can [inaudible] >> they do but that was another avenue for us to say wait a minute, if you will not remove violent content and moment of death they have a certificate that you apply to these videos that says if you apply the moment of death video or certificate and we take it down except they don't and what they have done is purely ad hoc
2:25 pm
arbitrary, random and there's no rhyme or reason to it. that was one avenue and if we can't get them to flag content then we will go after them for copyright infringement and we owned the digital rights to this and they ignore that, too. again, because they can. >> the basis of this hearing is that the chairman is trying to show that these platforms to figure out a way -- [inaudible] >> that is not mine -- right, i think it's much more -- i mean, not that your issue is not important but the fact that they are showing murder and execution on the web -- section 230 was just my understanding was it had been addressed with child pornography and there was legislation on that and if we can take -- i would implore this
2:26 pm
committee in congress to take at least address a narrow issue with this similar to that resident and say you can't show this stuff. >> are you suggesting that section 230 exceptions to the immunity for liability be expanded possibly in that we should. >> absolutely. yes. >> so, for doctor tripodi it's clear the examples you gave that the inquiry that you put in and come up with totally different results so i have to say that when we are told that when search results are biased but the results are not biased but what you are asking the results are in or whatever information you get so there's a lot of
2:27 pm
stuff on all this platforms in this -- president trump tweeted this summer that it created its search results in favor of i'm sorry, in favor of liberal news outlets but you testified that the results depend on what inquiry you put in. you can put in a innocuous result and get a lot of what would be called servant of constant. based on your research does google rickets search results against conservatives? >> based on my research i don't look specifically at rigging. it was in my research but i look at how algorithms are working and so algorithms are a product of both the input plus the output and for me and my research demonstrates is that the input which is largely driven by the user does determine the kind of output that you will receive. >> yeah, so, to show that there
2:28 pm
is an actual bias in how they moderate the content issues it's not so easy. not to mention -- i showed them this draft of the chart that i showed that actually there seems to be a lot more content put in the restrictive mode not of prager you but these other entities that are deemed a lot more and i'm not understanding here these papers concerns. before i end, mr. chairman i'd like to get unanimous consent to enter the following into the record for a report title searching for alternative fact, analyzing cultural inferencing [inaudible] >> without objection. >> an article in entitled --
2:29 pm
sorry, isn't it filing conservative symbolism by doctor tripodi. >> without objection. >> i ask for unanimous consent to enter the following statements into the record the statement of [inaudible] of net choice. >> all of them. >> and the statement of tech freedom and statement of caleb wiley of our street and finally i ask unanimous consent to enter into the record and editorial that ran in "the washington post" july 13th entitled how congress can destroy social media. >> all of those will be -- >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you to each of the witnesses. mr. parker, i want to thank you again for sharing your story and your daughter story. i will say i very much agree with you that you ought to be able to see through the heck out of google and youtube. if anybody else other than big tech did what they have done to
2:30 pm
you and if any other citizen delivered a vhs tape of the murder of your daughter to you and your neighbors you would have a common law torts for intentional infliction of emotional distress and you could recover very significant damages. ... >> mr. prager, you described youtube restricting various videos, i guess a total of i believe 56 videos produced by prager university on topics like the ten commandments.
2:31 pm
another topic that was restricted was one in which noted liberal professor alan dershowitz who is a professor of my in law school did a video for you and historical account of israel's founding as i understand it youtube restricted net video as well. does youtube ever explained why it is restricting these videos? [inaudible] it explains nothing. this was the first explanation i heard the incorporation of murder into the ten commandments. with regard to -- >> i think we would want -- >> we would. [talking over each other] >> it was in argument for the alternative universe at the moment. i've never accepted the possibility of one but i agree with you, one would think that is exactly what young people should hear, god doesn't want you to murder. but so be it.
2:32 pm
as regards professor dershowitz and then the on israel's founding, we have 320 pages, 15 concern israel and half of them have one thing or another been restricted. there was clearly a loathing of israel at google. i suspect the was a low think of america as well. virtually every video that we have put out that depicts america in a favorable way has also been at some time or another on the restricted list of my favorite example for use was this remarkable professor of classics, and he made a video, one of the most calm speaking humans i've ever met. he is the opposite of a grenade throwing speaker and the subject was the korean war. korean war, in five minutes but it is a longer on the restricted. they go in and out a fairly in some cases of that was on the restricted list because, , so i try to think why would that be? i could only come up with the fact that it shows how noble
2:33 pm
america's cause in korea was, the 37,000 americans died to keep half of the korean peninsula free. how many people even know that the korean war is in, in history as lynn used to put it. it's unknown. we want people to be proud of america, not proud of its peoples. of course america has that evils because it's composed of people and people do evil but it's largely been extraordinarily good and they don't want us to detect that. >> mr. prager, could you describe what the effect is when a previous place of the restricted list? we heard the representative from google say it's no big deal, just 2%. you should be just fine with it. what is the effect of the google arbitrarily -- >> as explained they can be seen by vast numbers of parents have filters totally understandably given how much junk is on the internet. we, this is what's so, very
2:34 pm
important. now don't hurt us in that family can't see that video. it hurts us because then it is a statement by google that rider university produces videos on the moral level of pornography. that's -- >> there's no appeal, no remedy, no arbitrary -- >> we've actually spoken to representatives of theirs. after this algorithm if we get someone on the phone we have had humans review at google and keep it up. why? that's community standards pick your video violated community standards. how exactly does the founding of israel by a harvard law professor violate community standard? it just does. >> i have to say it reminds me of the famous adage about the supreme court. we're not infallible because we are final, but rather we are --
2:35 pm
we're not vital because when infallible but rather we are fallible because we are final. that appears to be the same approach at google. dr. epstein, i thunder testability incredibly powerful, incredibly concerning. if anyone draws news out of the series i would encourage you to review very carefully dr. epstein testimony. like to take a moment to make clear several things. first of all as i understand your background, you're not a republican nor are you conservative. is that accurate? >> that would be an understatement. >> and, indeed, you are the former editor in chief of psychology today, correct? >> yes. >> you're a respected academic. you testified before this committee that google's manipulation of votes gave at least 2.6 million additional votes to hillary clinton in the
2:36 pm
year 2016, is that correct? >> that's correct. >> what a make understand you personally supported and voted for hillary clinton? >> i was a very strong public support of hillary clinton, yeah. >> so you're not dismayed that people voted for her but your testimony is that google is, through bias and search results, manipulating voters in the way they are not aware of. >> on a massive scale. what i'm saying is that i believe in democracy. i believe in the free and fair election more than have any kind of allegiance to a candidate for a party. >> and looking forward if i understood your testimony correctly, you said in such with elections google and facebook and twitter in big big tech's manipulation to manipulate as many as 15 million votes in a subsequent election. >> in 2020, if all these companies are supporting the same candidate, there are
2:37 pm
15 million votes on the line that can be shifted without peoples knowledge and without leaving a paper trail for authorities to trace. >> you described the go but we might instead it wasn't a a puc service announcement but rather manipulation. can you explain, i'm not sure how i do want to follow the the. >> well sure. it on election day in 2016 if mark zuckerberg had chosen to send out a go vote reminder, say just to democrats and no one would have known if he had done this, that would have given that date an additional at least 450,000 votes to democrats. we know this without doubt because of facebook's own published data because they did an experiment, they didn't tell anyone about, during the 20 election. they published it in 2012. they at 60 million facebook
2:38 pm
users and fall. they sent out a go vote reminder and a cat something like 360,000 more people to get off their sofas and go vote, , otherwise would've stayed home. the point is i don't think mr. zuckerberg out that reminder in 2016. i think think he was overconfident. i think google was overconfident that all these companies were -- i don't think he said that out without monitoring systems in place. we will never know what these companies are doing. but the point is in 2018 i'm sure there were more aggressive. with lots of data to support that. and in 2020, you can bet that all of these companies are going to go all out. and the methods they are using are invisible. they are subliminal. they are more powerful than most any effects of ever seen in the behavioral sciences and i've been in the behavioral sciences for almost 40 years. >> our democratic colleagues on
2:39 pm
this committee often talk about with you as the pernicious effect of big money and big corporate dollars. what you are testifying to is that a handful of silicon valley billionaires and giant corporations are able to spend millions of dollars if not billions of dollars collectively, massively influencing the results of elections. and there's no accountability you said we don't know, we have no way of knowing if google or facebook or twitter sends its democrats or republicans are how they bias it gets it's a black box with, with no transparent or accountability whatsoever. am i understand you greatly? >> senator, with respect and must correct you. if mark zuckerberg chooses to send out a go vote reminder just to democrats on election day, that doesn't cost him a time. >> fair enough. do you happen to know who the
2:40 pm
hillary clinton campaigns number one financial supporter was in the year 2016? >> i think i get it. please remind me. >> the number one financial support of the hillary clinton campaign in the 2016 election was her company of google, alphabet, who was our first witness, our number one financial donor and your testimony is to the deceptive search methods they moved to .6 million votes in her direction. i would think anybody, whether not you favor one candidate or another should be deeply dismayed about a handful of silicon valley billionaires have that much power over our elections to silently and deceptively shipped about outcomes. >> again with respect i must correct you. the 2.6 million is a rock-bottom minimum. the range is between 2.6 and 10.4 million depending on how
2:41 pm
aggressively they use the techniques i've been studying now for six and a half years. >> wow. could you say that again please? >> the 2.6 million is a rock-bottom minimum. the range is between 2.6 and 10.4 million votes, depending on how aggressive they were in using the techniques that i've been studying. such as the search engine manipulation effect, the search suggestion affect, the answer not affect and number of others. they control these and no one can counter -- these are not competitive. these are tools that they have at their disposal exclusively. >> if any headline comes out of this hearing, , that should be . senator hirono. >> just one clarifying question. we've heard from dr. epstein and has published research that
2:42 pm
substantiates what he says, although i haven't, there is a gracious to whether or not he used all the results that actually he should of used. but are you familiar with his methodology? >> yes. >> do you agree with dr. atkins conclusion? >> i i would say would come to different conclusions that i'm not sure because we do not know what other search terms that were used in this study. i read at length the testimony as those the reports. that he has submitted. and based on what i see, and we can go through it together, but there's a couple of things that draw out to me. one, when we run through how the experimental studies were run, it seems that people were given in advance which search terms to search. and as far as i research demonstrates, that different search terms will yield different kinds of results.
2:43 pm
>> that is the whole point of what your testimony is from what i gather the you can get all kind of results based on what your inquiry is. if people actually, if ever told what inquiry to put in, i think you get different results. >> excuse me for a second. these are very simple tech set up different ideological basics of something like dendrites versus gun control have different ideological divisions in code into the. >> syndicate company i replied briefly? -- senator, i replied briefly? we are well aware that's obviously we started with more than 500 terms per we noted down to 250 and we have this rated by independent raters. we only use search terms that were not biased in one direction or another and again that's based on ratings by independent raters. we are acutely aware of these kind of issues and we control for them. >> are you going to possibly undertake a study of how
2:44 pm
russia's interference with our election system, what kind of impact that had? are you embarking on a study. >> was we look into that, senator, and are interested in at a think it's reprehensible that this kind of thing happens. in fact, russian was using several techniques, but mainly targeted ads. the problem there is they are not any world in an environment that is highly, highly highly competitive. people also can see ads. they can use the judgment and confirmation bias plays role in how they react to ads. >> studies that you talk about has all those kinds of factors as being complicating the picture. thank you, mr. chairman. >> dr. epstein, senator hirono question your methodology and also said that there were
2:45 pm
similar problems with search results as there are with ads. i want to give you a full opportunity simply to respond to the criticisms and it's going to methodology used. >> sure. fake news, they are visible and their competitive. there have always been those kinds of manipulations. go back 100 years. they've always been fake ads. have always been fake news stories. their competitive. that's a competitive environment. you put up your billboard, i put my billboard. the problem with the techniques that i've been discovering and quantifying is that they are brand-new. the internet has made them possible. they have never been possible before in human history, and they are controlled entirely and exclusively by google, and to a lesser extent race book. they are brand-new. i've had to put names on them one by one as i discovered them
2:46 pm
because they are so bizarre. one quick example. we jump in our experiments that just by manipulating search suggestions, both phrases that a flash at you when you're typing in a search term, we can turn a 50-50 split among undecided voters into a 90 can split with no when having the slightest idea that they have been manipulated -- 90-ten. we reasonably speedy and you put some specificity on that. i don't know if that example can be flushed out. >> yes. in fact, we did that using the names of presidential candidates and we flashed certain suggestions that people are typing letters and we deliberately withheld negative search suggestions from some of our participants and with other participants now i think we allowed a negative they show up on the list. when you show a negative on the list, and right now if you look
2:47 pm
up donald trump is, you will find one negative. when you put a negative on the list, that draws ten-15 times as many clicks as neutral or positive terms. so if your algorithm suppresses negative search terms, search suggestion i should say for one candidate as we know google did for hillary clinton, my candidate in 2016, but you allow a negative to appear now and then for the opposing candidate, those negative search suggestions draw a tremendous amount of traffic to websites that show that candidate in a negative light. what i'm telling you is, we have shown that using this technique we can turn a 50-50 split among undecided voters into a 90-10 split with no when having the slightest idea they have been
2:48 pm
manipulated. we have reason to believe that google is knowingly, deliberately, strategically manipulating peoples thinking and behavior from the very first character people type into the search box. >> and, dr. epstein, can you elaborate, you said the reason to believe google is doing this knowingly and a liberally. can you explain why, why we have reason to believe that? >> well, pull out your cell phone. if you come if you type the letter a into google search box, either way, you should never ever use, never because it tracks you, you should use either something like that that goal or my favorite is start which has full access to google index. but the point is either type the letter a into the search box depending on your relationship with google and how much they know about you, there's a very good chance that your courtesy amazon listed in the first
2:49 pm
position, second position, their position, maybe all three positions. guess what. amazon is google's largest advertiser, and google since more traffic to amazon than any other company. these are business partners, and google is trying to send you to amazon when you type the letter a. type in a letter g speedy for what it's worth i just typed a and i got amazon, area 51 raid -- [laughing] and amazon prime. so those are the three google suggestions. >> wow, that's actually because i'm assuming you don't lock them anyway so been all about you and they are still trying to send you to amazon and amazon prime. i type in the g and you'll get something different. if you type in the gee, there's a good chance you're going to get a list of google products. we are trying to send you to
2:50 pm
google. a lesson here for all of us is if you start a company, make sure the name of it does not begin with the letter g. >> thank you very much. thank you to each of you for very illuminating testimony and i appreciate your being here. i want to all the witnesses who testify before the subcommittee. we will be keeping the hearing record open for an additional two weeks which means the record will be closed at the end of the business day on tuesday july 30, 2019. senators may submit follow-up questions to witnesses by that date, and if there are follow-up questions the witnesses are asked to respond as soon as possible in writing. and with that, this hearing was not sponsored by the g and this evening is adjourned. -- hearing is adjourned. [inaudible conversations]
2:51 pm
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
2:52 pm
president trump tomorrow will deliver remarks at the american veterans national convention in louisville, kentucky. live coverage begins wednesday at two p.m. eastern on c-span, online or listen live with the free c-span radio app. >> watch booktv for live coverage of the national book festival saturday august 31 starting at 10 a.m. eastern. our coverage includes author interviews with ruth bader ginsburg.
2:53 pm
>> child safety advocate crystal ellis lost her two-year-old son to a a furniture tip over in 2014 and is asking house committee to pass a law to prevent that from happening. the energy and commerce subcommittee also heard from consumer reports and a firefighters association on ways to protect consumers from potentially hazardous products. >> good morning, everyone. the subcommittee on consumer protection and commerce will now come to


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on