Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a Tech vs. Politics due to market power. Facebook and Google amongst other big technology companies spoke infront of Congress to speak on how they conduct their business.
The interrogation played out over the course six hours at the hearing, with lawmakers on the House’s top antitrust subcommittee coming armed with millions of documents, hundreds of hours of interviews and in some cases the once private messages of Silicon Valley’s elite chiefs. They said it showed some in the tech sector had become too big and powerful, threatening rivals, consumers and, in some cases, even democracy itself. According to The Washington Post;
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai took to the witness stand to fiercely defend their businesses Wednesday as rags to riches success stories, made possible only through American ingenuity and the sustained support of their ever growing customer bases.
Lawmakers repeatedly presented different vision at their hearing which one them which Silicon Valley’s myriad advancements in commerce, consumer electronics, communication and a vast array of online services had come at an immense cost to the people who use those tools and the companies that seek to compete against the tech giants.
Democrats repeatedly confronted Facebook’s Zuckerberg with his own past emails. Rep. Jerrold Nadler D-N.Y.the top lawmaker on the House Judiciary Committee, brought up a 2012 message in which Zuckerberg apparently said he sought to acquire Instagram, which at the time was a rival photo sharing app, out of fear that it could “meaningfully hurt us.” Later, Rep. Joe Neguse D-Col. pointed to other Facebook communications that described the company’s acquisition strategy generally as “a land grab.”
Amazon, faced withering scrutiny over allegations it may have misled the committee. The e-commerce giant previously told lawmakers it does not tap data from third-party sellers to boost sales of its own products. But Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal D-Wash. brought up public reports that indicated to the contrary, prompting Bezos delivering his first ever testimony to Congress to offer a striking admission of potential fault.
For all four executives, offered an abundance of additional uncomfortable clashes, laying bare the broad, bipartisan frustrations with the way Silicon Valley puts users privacy at risk, polices content online and hurts competitors, including small businesses that have told lawmakers they cannot hope to compete with these tech giants. On several occasions, lawmakers cut off or talked over the tech executives when they offered vague or long answers, seeking to hold them to account for the evidence investigators had gathered from their probe.
Republicans largely used their time during the hearing to attack some tech companies for engaging in perceived political censorship against conservatives, a charge that the industry vehemently denies.
Each of the tech executives took great pains to stress their contributions to the U.S. economy. Amazon described itself as one of the most popular consumer brands, where consumers can get their goods quickly and cheaply. Apple said it had enabled a wildly popular ecosystem of apps and widely prized, high end phones to match. Facebook said it had stood for free expression and speech against a rising tide of international censorship, pointing to new competitors including TikTok. And Google said its tools made it possible for people to find information and businesses worldwide to grow.
Quickly, though, Democrats on the House’s top antitrust committee sought to unspool the circumstances behind the four tech giants successes.