Attack on big tech company executives by congress questioning their business practices. The attack was primarily on companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook for their financial concerns.
Criticism was done in three hearings on Capitol Hill that shows Washington’s deep interest in silicon Valley. Lawmakers from both the parties, including Senator Ted Cruz(Republican of Texas) and David N. Cicilline (Democrat of Rhode Island) questioned the big tech executives.
The executives attack big tech company by claiming that the technological world has changed completely and big tech company offer various opportunities to the people across the globe who aspire for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
They also said that they face multiple competitors at every step – big tech companies, ascendant start-ups, etc. They further attack big tech company by adding that the consumers get the maximum benefit from the convenience, low price, and new products and services.
However, this didn’t melt the heart of all the lawmakers. There were only a few lawmakers who were sympathetic and the rest of them expressed their disdain for the big tech companies.
When “Facebook said, ‘just trust us'”, one of the senators Sherrod Brown (Democrat of Ohio) focusing on the cryptocurrency business commented, “And every time Americans trust you, they seem to get burned.” Hearing performances showed a complete dislike for the big tech businesses.
Not long ago these big tech companies were considered as the treasures of American capitalism, they have now become the targets of political attack on big tech company from both parties. President Trump has also criticized tech companies.
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The Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have divided their responsibilities for potential antitrust investigations. Former is taking Google and Apple, while the latter has Facebook and Amazon.
A report says that the Federal Trade Commission put a fine of about $5 on Facebook for mishandling users’ personal information. The House Judiciary Committee started an inquiry into the powers and business practices of big tech companies.
The committee announced the investigation previous month and demanded documents from the companies and hear testimony from witnesses, who fear big tech companies.
Holding hearings began on afternoon that focuses on the changed entrepreneurial activities of companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google. The practices under investigation included acquiring upstart competitors and favoring their own offerings.
Mr. David Cicilline
However, the lawmakers ignored the more important areas of concern, Mr. Cicilline wanted to know whether the big tech companies gave them a less advantage over rivals who want to sell their own products.
His attack was on Amazon’s private label products, which compete with products from other brands. Mr. Cicilline questions Nate Sutton, “Doesn’t that create a conflict of interest?”.
In response, Mr. Nate replied, “I respectfully disagree,” he also added that many big retailers offer private label brands. Mr. Cicilline pointed out that the control of products by Amazon is quite different from those of a traditional retailer that provide private- label merchandise.
Mr. Cicilline said Mr. Sutton, “I may remind you, sir. You are sworn to tell the truth.” He further addressed and said is it false that amazon favors its own item and accentuates more on selling Amazon-marked items.
“No, that is not true,” said Mr. Sutton Representative Joe Neguse raised questions against the business practices of Facebook. He said that WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook messenger are also Facebook’s properties.
Facebook has the leading business market as it is the owner of the top six players in the market. Mr. Negus said, “It is called a monopoly.” The next thing that the lawmakers pointed out was the Facebook cryptocurrency project.
The company had a bigger aim with the project. It offered an alternative financial system because it allowed users to send money around the world giving little fees.
But the company was criticized greatly for this. One of the best examples of cryptocurrency is bitcoin, a digital currency that is free from government control.
Criticizing cryptocurrency many critics have pointed out that there is an increase in the illegal trade of drugs after the emergence of cryptocurrency. Jerome H.
Powell said that Libra collected ” illegal tax avoidance, purchaser insurance, and money related dependability. President Trump and the treasure secretary, have also criticized Libra and other cryptocurrencies in recent weeks.
One of the members of the committee, Mr. Marcus was questioned as he initiated the cryptocurrency company. He was asked about Facebook controversies, from” lax protection of the private information of its users to Russian disinformation on Facebook ‘s platform to claims that it tries to muzzle conservative viewpoints. “
Congressperson Martha McSally said,” I don’t believe you folks. ” Mr. Marcus, who was the PayPal executive was chosen by Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s s chief executive, to lead the Libra effort.
Mr. Marcus said that the company will try its best to eradicate all the frauds going on and once again gain the trust of the Facebook users. “We have made mistakes in the past,” Mr. Marcus said. “We have been working, and are striving to show signs of improvement.”
Google was attacked in the third hearing of the day, about censorship in search, held by a senate subcommittee. Republican lawmakers largely talked about unproven claims that Google is biased against conservative viewpoints.
Calling the hearing charade democrats raised the concern about Google’s inability to successfully transfer the content on YouTube. The Republicans attacked Karan Bhatia for government affairs and public policy.
Representative Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, assaulted Google’s administrators after they said that blue penciling list items would conflict with the organization’s philosophy, mulling over this the hunt goliath had been working hard so that they could re-enter China with a censored search engine.
Mr. Hawley, who has been a critic of Google. Mr. Bhatia said that Google has dropped the plant to restart its search engine in China. Mr. Cruz, who is the chairman of the subcommittee, said that Congress should think once about the legal immunity for internet companies, established in 1996, which protects them for liability for content posted by users.
Under the rule, section 230 of the e-Communications Decency Act, platforms such as Google’s YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have evolved tremendously without any consideration that they are liable for content on those services.
On the day of the hearing, the president attacked Google with an early morning tweet. He assured that his administration “will investigate” from the billionaire investor Peter Thiel, who claimed that Google has been infiltrated by the Chinese intelligence.
Mr. Thiel further added that Google has betrayed by refusing to work with the pentagon on a future artificial intelligence while it has agreed to work with the Chinese military. But he could not provide any evidence for his allegations.
In defense, a Google spokesman said that the company had not worked with the Chinese military, it has rather worked with the American government in different areas such as cybersecurity, recruiting, and health care.
When questioned by Mr. Bhatia about the infiltration of the company’s management, software or private data during the hearing, he said: “absolutely not
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