The CEOs of the world’s four biggest technology companies will testify later this month before the House Judiciary Committee as lawmakers investigate competition in the tech industry, Reuters reported.
Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google, Apple’s Tim Cook and Jeff Bezos from Amazon are expected to face no-holds-barred questions from lawmakers about the tech giants’ business practices. The panel has pressed for tougher antitrust rules and enforcement.
U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island), chairman of the House Antitrust Subcommittee, has asked each of the company’s executives to testify before completing its investigation and crafting reforms that would regulate the digital market.
The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is nearing the end of its antitrust investigation of Google as it considers whether to charge the tech giant this summer.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission is probing Facebook and Amazon while the nation’s state attorneys general are looking at Facebook and Google.
CNBC reports the hearing would mark the first time all four executives testified together in front of Congress. It’s unclear whether they would testify in person or virtually given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
In an interview with the network in January, Cicilline told CNBC it was clear to him that the digital marketplace is not functioning properly and robust competition is lacking. He said legislation must be drafted to reinvigorate competition and enable a new class of startups to grow.
The companies have been reluctant to appear before Congress, but Cicilline has said he would be willing to subpoena the CEOs if they failed to appear before the committee, the network reported.
With the exception of Bezos, the CEOs have been questioned at congressional hearings before, CNBC reported. Zuckerberg testified in 2018 on Facebook’s use personal data of millions of users without their permission, and about its company’s proposed digital currency, Libra, last year.
Pichai testified in 2018 over charges that Google is politically biased in its treatment of content. Cook testified in 2013 about Apple’s payment of taxes, CNBC reported.
In May, House Judiciary Committee legislators requested that Bezos provide testimony on the eCommerce retailer’s private-label procedures. The request followed a report that Amazon employees used information about independent sellers to create rival items.
Earlier this year, the DOJ launched an inquiry into Google’s ad tools amid its antitrust investigation.
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