Big Tech Going on Trial. “..committee has acquired at least 1.3 million documents from the testifying companies..” By Todd Horwitz, Bubba Trading

 

Big Tech Going on Trial

Big Tech will come under the glare of a national spotlight Wednesday, as four of its leader’s face questions from members of Congress aiming to rein in what they believe is excessive power in the hands of a few giant companies.

The chief executives— Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook, Facebook Inc.’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai—are set to appear before the House Antitrust Subcommittee investigating the market dominance of online platforms. Their testimony could help build public pressure for government action, especially if the back-and-forth with lawmakers raises new concerns about the way the big technology companies operate.

Over the course of the last year, the antitrust panel of the House Judiciary Committee has led the investigation leading up to the final CEO showdown on Wednesday. At the hearing, evidence from that investigation may finally make its way into public record. Throughout its year of investigations, the committee has acquired at least 1.3 million documents from the testifying companies, held five public hearings, and conducted hundreds of hours of interviews.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai have already faced grilling’s from Congress but not under these circumstances. Under Chairman David Cicilline’s (D-RI) leadership, members of the committee are heading into this week’s hearing with a huge pile of receipts, leaving little room for the executives to avoid uncomfortable lines of questioning.

“The other hearings where they’ve testified have not really been oversight hearings, they haven’t been about antitrust and monopolistic behavior,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) told The Verge. “That’s not what we’re doing. We are investigators.”

The main purpose of Wednesday’s hearing is for Zuckerberg, Pichai, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Apple’s Tim Cook to address the evidentiary record the committee has already prepared over the last 13 months, an intimidating number of documents that no tech CEO has reckoned with since Microsoft’s antitrust charges in the ‘90s. At the end of this probe, the committee intends to publish a report in the coming months detailing how the executives’ respective companies have avoided liability under current antitrust laws because those competition rules were never crafted with the tech industry’s behaviors in mind.”

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