Historic Testimony by Four Tech CEOs Signals Conclusion Near for House Antitrust Investigation
Never before have the CEOs of the four largest tech companies–Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple–appeared together at a Congressional hearing. But now they will all testify later this month in a final stage of the bipartisan investigation by the House Judiciary Committee, which began last year with an initial hearing highlighting the damage the tech giants have done to the journalism industry.
Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) deserves enormous credit for launching this critical investigation, identifying the threat these global companies pose to the journalism industry, and persevering with efforts to secure the testimony of the CEOs. Also praise worthy is this investigation has been genuinely bipartisan, with support from then-Judiciary Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA), and the Ranking Member on the Antitrust Subcommittee, James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
Regulators and lawmakers around the world are focusing attention on the market power and exploitation of that power by the tech giants. The UK’s Competitive Market’s Authority warned just this week that “if the market power of these firms goes unchecked, people and businesses will lose out.” Australian regulators are developing a mandatory code for tech platforms intended to “create a level playing field” between the tech giants and media companies. And the Department of Justice and a coalition of state attorneys general are expected to file major lawsuits against Google as early as this summer.
The following is a statement from Laura Bassett, former Senior Politics Reporter at HuffPost and co-founder of the Save Journalism Project:
“Get ready for the Techopolypse. And it’s about time. The journalism industry has been decimated by the unfair exploitation of the marketplace by Google, Facebook and other tech giants. Hundreds of newspapers have closed, tens of thousands of journalists are out of work, scores of online media properties are threatened and millions of Americans have lost their local news coverage. We applaud Rep. Cicilline and his colleagues across the aisle for recognizing the threat the journalism industry faces and for their efforts to deliver real security and accountability to Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.”