Technology Giants Facing American Antitrust

The CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google will testify together before the subcommittee of the U.S. Congress as part of an antitrust investigation.

This testimony is part of the strengthening of oversight by legislators. Technology giants are also subject to antitrust investigations at the state level as well as at the federal level.

Highlights

  • According to the New York Times, no date has been set. In addition, it is not yet clear whether the hearing will be conducted via videoconference because of Covid-19.
    In mid-June, Politico reported that Sundar Pichai of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Jeff
  • Bezos of Amazon all agreed to testify, but Tim Cook was the only one to resist. Apple also did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Forbes US.
  • This hearing will be a first for Jeff Bezos, who has never testified before the U.S. Congress before.
  • While the four giants (Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple) are experiencing significant growth in revenue and notoriety; lawmakers question whether these very large companies are unfairly blocking small businesses. They also question whether they are doing the same to consumers.
  • Since 2019, the House of Representatives has been investigating the power and influence of technology giants. The results of this investigation could allow for changes in antitrust laws to facilitate the dismantling of these giants.
  • Technology companies have also faced negative reactions outside the antitrust framework. We can count: Facebook’s handling of misinformation and hate speech. As well as Amazon’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic in its warehouses.

General context

Both Sundar Pichai and Mark Zuckerberg previously testified before the U.S. Congress in 2018, when lawmakers questioned the two CEOs about privacy, misinformation and prejudice. In addition, Mark Zuckerberg has been implicated for Russian interference in the 2016 election and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Tim Cook, meanwhile, has not appeared before Congress since a 2013 hearing in which a group of senators from both parties questioned him about Apple’s tax strategy because the company was accused of tax evasion to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes in the United States.

The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are conducting separate antitrust investigations involving Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. Although both investigations are still ongoing, the Wall Street Journal reported in May that the Justice Department and a group of state attorneys general plan to prosecute Google as early as this year. These would jeopardize the company’s advertising activities.

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