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GOP Congressman Turns Antitrust Hearing Into Personal Tech Support Session

An anonymous reader quotes a report from VICE News: We all have trouble with our email sometimes. We don’t typically get to harangue the CEO of Google about why, say, Dad’s Gmail is acting up, though. You have to be a member of Congress to pull that. Rep. Greg Steube, Republican from Florida, went there during Wednesday’s high-profile congressional hearing about tech giants’ market dominance and anti-competitive behavior. Handed the chance to throw any question at some of the most powerful people in the world, Steube pressed Google CEO Sundar Pichai to troubleshoot his parents’ recent email issues. Specifically, they weren’t getting his campaign emails, which Steube seemed to think was because of an anti-conservative bias among Silicon Valley titans. Pichai responded by implying that Steube and his dad don’t understand how Gmail tabs work.

“Suddenly, I get elected to Congress, and I’m now up here in Washington, D.C., and my parents, who have a Gmail account, aren’t getting my campaign emails,” Steube said. “Why is this only happening to Republicans?” Pichai responded by talking about how Gmail automatically sorts emails by their source, breaking out messages from personal contacts into a folder separate from those sent by self-promoting groups like a congressional campaign. “We have a tabbed organization,” Pichai said, veering into tech-support mode. “The primary tab has emails from friends and family, and the secondary tab has other notifications, and so on.” Steube interrupted to point out that it was his dad who complained that the campaign emails weren’t showing up. And that meant Pichai’s statement that the Primary tab should feature all emails from family members didn’t make any sense to him. “Clearly, that familial thing that you’re talking about didn’t apply to my emails,” Steube said, glossing over the fact that the emails were coming from his campaign, not from his personal account. “Our systems, probably, are not able to understand that it’s your father,” Pichai deadpanned.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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