A U.S. Senate panel voted Thursday to compel testimony from the CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter as lawmakers opened a new front in the battle over hate speech, misinformation and perceived political bias on social media a month before the presidential election.
The Senate Commerce Committee authorized subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Sundar Pichai of Google and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to force them to appear at a planned hearing if they do not agree to do so voluntarily.
The executives’ testimony is needed “to reveal the extent of influence that their companies have over American speech during a critical time in our democratic process,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Mississippi Republican who heads the committee.
The committee’s unanimous vote marked the start of a new bipartisan initiative against Big Tech companies, which have been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from state attorneys general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.
The three CEOs are being summoned to testify as the Justice Department moves toward antitrust action against Google with a focus on the company’s dominance in online search and whether it was used to stifle competition and hurt consumers. A bipartisan coalition of 50 U.S. states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, also has been investigating Google’s business practices. They have cited “potential monopolistic behavior.”
Facebook, Amazon and Apple have also been targets of sweeping antitrust investigations by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission.
In the House, a judiciary subcommittee has pursued its own bipartisan investigation of Big Tech’s market dominance. Zuckerberg and Pichai as well as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook testified at a highly charged hearing by the panel in July.
MacDailyNews Take: The Google problem needs to be rectified. The company is the poster child for why antitrust laws exist.
In March 2019, Europe’s antitrust regulators ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($1.7 billion) for freezing out rivals in the online advertising business.
Google is a monopoly. A breakup of Google would be welcome. In fact, even as we attempt to move away from the ad-supported model, we back whatever remedy or remedies will introduce competition back into the online advertising business, which is broken, in part, because far too much power is concentrated with Google. This situation is exactly why antitrust laws exist. — MacDailyNews, June 6, 2020
Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that had not only monopolized web search (and, thereby, basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled the bulk of online advertising dollars which funded your business and which they could pull, simply threaten to pull, or reduce rates at any time? Now also imagine if you believe this monopolist basically stole the product of another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopolist thief’s business practices?
You might guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We’re only imagining, of course!)
That would be a good example of why monopolies are bad for everyone.
The U.S. government has utterly failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so currently are corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the European Union will help to correct the situation.
In the meantime, stop using Google search and Google products wherever possible. Monopolies are bad for everyone. — MacDailyNews, July 14, 2016
If you haven’t already, give DuckDuckGo a try! https://duckduckgo.com
With this unprecedented power, platforms have the ability to redirect into their pockets the advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines. No one company should have the power to pick and choose which content reaches consumers and which doesn’t. — MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017
We’d like to see real competition in the online search and advertising markets restored someday. — MacDailyNews, March 20, 2019