Amazon were questioned by a US Congress subcommittee yesterday on issues relating to
antitrust, and the suggestion they hold too much power. For nearly six hours, congress confronted the CEOs about whether they wielded their market power to eliminate competitors and amass huge data on their customers. Indeed, congressman David Cicilline summarised the hearing by suggesting:
Simply put, they have too much power. The firms have monopoly power, some need to be broken up, all need to be properly regulated and held accountable
– David Cicilline
However, according to Forbes , while the hearing may reflect the public’s (America) general concern regarding antitrust, and big tech’s increasing power, many are torn if, or how, the government should take action. Forbes report that in a recent tech poll 85% of people agreed that the big four tech companies have too much power. However, they also report that a YouGov poll found that only 44% of people agreed with Mr Cicilline suggestion that big tech firms should be broken up.
The hearing comes amid a difficult time for the companies as
Pichai (Google) and
Cook (Apple) are already facing similiar questions regarding their (respective companies) actions during the current pandemic, and recent justice protests. Namely, how they respond to reported misinformation and hate speech uploaded to their platforms.
Yesterday’s hearing was extremely interesting, covering censorship, monopolies and fair competition, and most importantly privacy. If you have time, it’s well worth watching the whole hearing. However, if you are short on time, here is a good video summarising the main discussion and concluding remarks.