The Congress hearing with Sundar Pichai is making headlines, and one of the many reasons it is going viral is due to a mysterious person in the frame that focuses on Google CEO Sundar Pichai. While the Congress hearing, titled "Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use, and Filtering Practices" had House Representatives asking a number of questions to Pichai, however, the hearing highlight was a white moustache man', who was spotted sitting right behind him.
A closer look at the frame would probably make you experience a sense of deja vu - the person is a real-life version of the Monopoly Man, or 'Rich Uncle Pennybags,' the character from and mascot of the classic Monopoly board game.
Watch the video below:
Ian Madrigal is an activist with a knack for photobombing congressional hearings, which often involve a lot of prominent people from the corporate world. The Monopoly Man stunt is a protest of the alleged inability of tech companies to self-regulate and protect consumers' personal data, according to Madrigal's statement.
Meanwhile, at the hearing, Pichai fielded questions from representatives ranging from how Google filters search results and controls for bias to how Google manages misinformation on its platforms. In fact, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked to explain: "If you Google the word 'idiot' under images, a picture of Donald Trump comes up. How would that happen? How does search work so that that would occur?"
In the middle of a congressional hearing about privacy and data collection, Republican Zoe Lofgren, apparently performed that search from the dais. As it turns out, the image results for "idiot" reveals a page of mostly Trump photos.
“This is working at scale, and we don’t manually intervene on any particular search result,” replied Pichai.
Pichai also got particularly unlucky at a hearing when Republican Steve King (R-IA) asked Mr Pichai to explain why his daughter’s iPhone was acting strangely.
“I have a seven-year-old granddaughter who picked up her phone during the election, and she’s playing a little game, the kind of game a kid would play,” King told Pichai. “And up on there pops a picture of her grandfather. And I’m not going to say into the record what kind of language was used around that picture of her grandfather, but I’d ask you: how does that show up on a seven-year-old’s iPhone, who’s playing a kid’s game?", he asked.
Mr. Pichai hesitated:
“Congressman, the iPhone is made by a different company. And so, you know, I mean...”