Big Tech to tangle with Washington lawmakers in antitrust showdown

Related

By Nandita Bose and Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON – The CEOs of four of America’s largest tech firms will testify before U.S. Congress on Wednesday in a hearing that promises a healthy dose of political theater, while also offering a window into the thinking of lawmakers trying to rein in Big Tech.

Facebook Inc’s <FB.O> Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com Inc’s <AMZN.O> Jeff Bezos, Alphabet Inc <GOOGL.O>-owned Google’s Sundar Pichai and Apple Inc’s <APPL.O> Tim Cook – who together represent about $5 trillion of the U.S. economy – are set to speak before the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust panel.

Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline has been looking in to allegations by critics that the companies have hurt competitors and consumers with their business practices and seemingly insatiable appetite for data.

The CEOs plan to defend themselves by saying they themselves face competition and by pushing back against claims they are dominant, which has led to fears the hearing will bring up little new information to hold the companies accountable in the long term.

The hearing marks the first time the four CEOs have appeared together before lawmakers, and will also be the first-ever appearance of Bezos before Congress.

“The hearing is less about substance and is designed to bring attention to Congressman Cicilline and the work the subcommittee has been doing for the past year,” said Jesse Blumenthal, who leads technology and innovation at Stand Together, a group that sides with tech companies that have come under fire from lawmakers and regulators in Washington.

The hearing will also test U.S. lawmakers’ ability to ask sharp, pointed questions that reflect an understanding of how Big Tech operates. Previous high-profile hearings involving tech companies have exposed the somewhat limited grasp of Washington politicians of how the internet and technology work.

It will also offer lawmakers from both parties a chance to bring up the topic of content censorship – an increasingly sore point for Republican lawmakers, who have repeatedly complained of anti-conservative bias at Big Tech companies.

A detailed report with antitrust allegations against the four tech platforms and recommendations on how to tame their market power could be released by late summer or early fall by the committee, which has separately amassed 1.3 million documents from the companies, senior committee aides said.

(Reporting by Nandita Bose and Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Chris Sanders and Matthew Lewis)

tagreuters.com2020binary_LYNXNPEG6S0OC-BASEIMAGE

- Advertisement -
SourceReuters

Add your comment(s)

 

Latest

Justice Department opens probe into ex-NASA official, Boeing over space contract

By Joey Roulette and Eric M. Johnson WASHINGTON/SEATTLE - The U.S. Justice Department has opened a criminal probe into whether NASA's former head of human...

U.S. post office warns 46 states some mailed ballots may not be counted in election

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Postal Service recently sent letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia warning that some mailed ballots may not...

Wall Street Week Ahead: Biden victory? Trump victory? Disputed election? Wall Street price disruption in November…?

By David Randall and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed NEW YORK - Investors are girding their portfolios for market moves ahead of the U.S. presidential vote, as...

U.S. House Republican says Democrats’ COVID-19 bill would harm market

WASHINGTON - U.S. House of Representatives Republican leader Kevin McCarthy said on Friday that Democratic legislation on coronavirus relief would undermine the stock market,...

Postal union endorses Biden candidacy as ‘survival’ of USPS at stake

By David Shepardson WASHINGTON - The 300,000-member National Association of Letter Carriers said on Friday that the union's executive council had endorsed Democrat Joe Biden...

Trending