The chief executives of four U.S technology giants experienced withering, rapid-fire questioning from lawmakers who accused their businesses of using their power to crush rivals and squash competition for more than five hours. Google, Facebook Inc., Apple Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. have been criticized for the influence they wield over digital markets: Google’s dominance of internet search and online advertising; Apple’s close hold over apps; Facebook’s purchase of rivals; and Amazon’s leverage over third-party retailers.
The four company chief executives — Sundar Pichai from Alphabet, Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Tim Cook from Apple and Jeff Bezos from Amazon — testified to the antitrust committee from remote locations in the Building. They were unfailingly polite despite the fact that lawmakers often cut them off due to a rigorously enforced five-minute rule per Member. Lawmakers peppered the executives with questions about concrete cases designed to prove that the firms overcame the challenges to the competition.
The hearing marked an expansion of antitrust regulation in the industry, with the Internet companies, already under US investigation, having a total valuation of nearly $ 5 trillion. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission. Country-wide states check Facebook and Google, too. The panel’s testimonials and documents could be used to inform those inquiries. The lawmakers have found many highly damaging cases of anticompetitive behaviour.
Sundar Pichai Criticized
Cicilline, who said he expected the committee to complete its report in a month, criticized Pichai over the search engine activities of his Google Team, accusing him of manipulating content with the intention of keeping users on his platform, rather than leading them to other web outlets.
Wednesday’s session was the first time that Bezos testified together before Congress and the hearing marks the first time that all four tech leaders appeared. Democrats divided their concerns to reflect on Google, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple’s market strength, while Republicans complained mostly about anticonservative bias at Google and Facebook. Ohio’s Republican Jim Jordan cited numerous examples showing tech firms, including Twitter Inc., silencing conservative views, he said.
New York’s Jerrold Nadler, the Democrat who heads the House Judiciary Committee, said papers reviewed by the committee revealed that Instagram purchased Facebook in 2012 to “neutralize” an emerging competitor. He wondered why Facebook shouldn’t cut Instagram off.
Instagram Gets Targeted
Zuckerberg states that at the time, Instagram face several rivals and that Instagram is popular because of Facebook investments. Cicilline also criticized Facebook for its platform’s content. Also, claim the company had an ability to distribute propaganda, hate speech, and violent content. This is as it drives the most traffic and is thus more profitable. Zuckerberg denied the claim, claiming that it is not what consumers want to see.
Washington’s Democrat Pramila Jayapal asked Bezos on Amazon’s use of third-party sales data to compete with those vendors. Bezos said the company has a policy against the use of seller-specific data. It is to support its private label brand, but “the policy has never been broken, can’t guarantee it.”
Spokesperson Lucy McBath, a Georgia Democrat, played the audio of an Amazon bookseller. He said it was retaliating and blocking the company from selling textbooks. This is a business expand and gain market share from Amazon. Amazon has so much leverage that there is no other way for the vendors to go, McBath said.
Bezos states he is not acquaint with the case of the bookseller and decid to find out more about it. He insisted that Amazon was perfect for vendors from third parties. The CEOs told Congress in written testimony released late on Tuesday. They said innovation is booming in the tech industry and as a result, customers are benefiting.
They praised the different ways they help small businesses flourish. It can be whether third-party Amazon retailers or independent developers. It is creating applications for the Apple App Store. They described their companies as embodying American entrepreneurship, too. After the hearing, Cicilline said several of the CEOs’ answers reinforced information the panel had discovered during its inquiry.