Angry Senate Intel Members Left Empty Chair, Tore Into Absent Google CEO During Opening Statements

WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 5: (L-R) Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey arrive for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence ope... WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 5: (L-R) Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter chief executive officer Jack Dorsey arrive for a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing concerning foreign influence operations' use of social media platforms, on Capitol Hill, September 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg faced questions about how foreign operatives use their platforms in attempts to influence and manipulate public opinion. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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September 5, 2018 10:53 a.m.

Larry Page, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, opted not to join his peers — Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey — at election security hearings before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday, sparking the committee members’ bipartisan wrath.

Lawmakers left an empty chair and name tag to express their disapproval with the tech giant’s absence. But the senators did not stop at visual statements.

“The committee takes this issue very seriously, and we appreciate that Facebook and Twitter are represented here this morning with an equivalent and appropriate measure of seriousness,” Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) jabbed in his opening statement.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), the ranking Democrat on the committee, said that he was “very disappointed” in Google.

“From Google Search, which continues to have problems surfacing absurd conspiracies…. To YouTube, where Russian-backed disinformation agents promoted hundreds of divisive videos…. To Gmail, where state-sponsored operatives attempt countless hacking attempts, Google has an immense responsibility in this space,” he said.

Per Business Insider, Google Senior Vice President, Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker sent written testimony that did not address the absence.

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