White House to hold roundtable with tech executives

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn, (R-Tenn.), on mounting privacy and bias concerns over big tech.

The Trump administration will hold a roundtable discussion on innovation with top tech executives, a move that marks an easing of tensions between the White House and big Silicon Valley firms.

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The panel, to be held next Thursday, will discuss "bold, transformational ideas" that "can help ensure U.S. leadership in industries of the future," according to a White House email.

Executives expected to participate include Microsoft Corp. Chief Executive Satya Nadella, Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, Oracle Corp. co-Chief Executive Safra Catz, Qualcomm Inc. Chief Executive Steve Mollenkopf and others, the email says. Blackstone Group Chief Executive Steve Schwarzman and Carnegie Mellon University president Farnam Jahanian also will take part.

The meeting will be part of a Washington tour for Mr. Pichai, who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee a day earlier, on Dec. 5. That hearing is expected to cover the range of concerns about the internet giant that have been voiced by lawmakers this year, including its handling of data privacy, the potential for political bias on its platform and the company's exploration of a censored search engine for Chinese users.

Mr. Pichai agreed to testify in a public hearing in the fall, when he met privately with GOP leaders to discuss some of their concerns. Google and its parent company Alphabet Inc. drew criticism from U.S. senators earlier this year when they declined to send a top executive to a hearing that featured Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter Inc. and Sheryl Sandberg, the operating chief of Facebook Inc.

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Likely topics for discussion at next week's White House meeting include emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, 5G wireless communications and quantum computing, according to the email from White House technology policy adviser Michael Kratsios.

In recent months, Mr. Trump has been critical of several internet companies, including Google.

"Google search results for 'Trump News' shows only the viewing/reporting of Fake News Media. In other words, they have it RIGGED, for me & others, so that almost all stories & news is BAD," the president tweeted in August. "Google & others are suppressing voices of Conservatives and hiding information and news that is good. They are controlling what we can & cannot see."

House Republican leaders also have been critical of the internet companies, and the House Judiciary Committee held hearings on the topic this year.

Tech CEOs have been vocal critics of Mr. Trump's policies, from tariffs to immigration. Last year, a group of 130 tech companies including Microsoft, Apple Inc. and Google, joined legal action opposing Mr. Trump's immigration ban, which proposed temporarily barring travel from some Muslim-majority countries.

In September, Google's Mr. Pichai met with top GOP House leaders as well as the president's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow. At the time, the White House said it would hold a roundtable to be attended by the president, Mr. Pichai and other "internet stakeholders."

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Representatives for all of the confirmed attendees declined to comment or didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

White House adviser Ivanka Trump also will take part in a Business Roundtable panel discussion on innovation next week, along with IBM Corp. Chief Executive Ginni Rometty.

--Tripp Mickle and Miriam Gottfried contributed to this article.

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