Democrats and Republicans find unit in trashing Big Tech

Sen. Martha McSally, a Republican Republican in Arizona, sounded a similar appealing note later in the hearing. "I don't trust you," she said. "Instead of cleaning up your house, you are now launching another business model."

Facebook was not alone, and Google and Amazon also warmed in Washington all day Tuesday.

Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple on the Hill

Leaders from Facebook ( FB ) Google ( GOOGL ] AMZN ) and Apple ( AAPL ) witnessed a house hearing examines the consequences of their growing power, a part of an antitrust probe announced last month.

The companies were repeatedly pressured to respond to their market dominance and competition competition reports, with Rep. Joe Neguse, a Democrat representing Colorado, and designated Facebook ̵[ads1]1; owns a number of popular services, including Instagram, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

"When a company owns four of the six largest units measured by active users in the world in the industry, we have a word for it," Neguse said. "And it's monopoly."

Matt Perault, Facebook's public director, rejected that characterization. At one point in the hearing, Perault said, "Many of our competitors are sitting at this table with me."

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] Legislators are also resetting on Amazon, the question of getting a competitive advantage over third-party partners on the platform due to its strong relationship with them – an idea that supports Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren's suggestion of breaking up Amazon, in particular.

"When people sell products on your site, do you track which products are most successful, and sometimes you make a product to compete with that product?" asked Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat.

Nate Sutton, an associated general advisor at Amazon, said basically that the company does not use public data on which products are most popular to inform the creation of Amazon branded products. 19659002] Men Rep. David Cicilline, Rhode Island Democrat, who manages the panel's antitrust subcommittee, pushed on. He repeatedly pointed out Sutton in a time exchange he spoke under oath.

"We do not use individual seller data to compete with them," Sutton said in the end.

But some lawmakers warned that breaking up large tech giants is too early. Rep. Jim Sensen Burner, the top Republican on the panel, said the idea is "misguided" because it can damage businesses that rely on the major platforms and will not necessarily solve poor privacy practices.

"Just because a business is big doesn't mean it's bad," he said.

Trump order trial to look at Google

In addition to the house's antitrust probe, two federal agencies are said to be groundbreaking for possible investigations of the four companies' market dominance.

Trump piled on and urged the Justice Department to investigate Google after billionaire tech investor Peter Thiel earlier Tuesday said the CIA and FBI should investigate whether Google has been infiltrated by Chinese intelligence.

"He made a very strong charge. One of the peaks – perhaps top expert on all these things, and he made a very big statement about Google," said Trump and noted Thiel as a strong supporter of his and spoke at his nomination convention in 2016. Thiel is a member of Facebook's board.

On Tuesday morning, Trump tweeted that his administration would look into the matter and expand on his views during a cabinet meeting.

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"I would like to recommend to the various agencies, including perhaps our lawyer, who is with us , maybe to take a look, "Trump said. "It's a big statement when you say that Google is involved in China in a very positive way for our country."

"So I think we all look at it. I know our other agencies will look at. We will see if there is any truth," he says.

Google strongly denied Thiel's claim and said in a statement: " We are not working with the Chinese military. We work with the US government, including the Ministry of Defense, in many areas, including cyber security, recruitment and health care. "

Sanders requires Amazon survey

Separately, Vermont requires Sen. Bernie Sanders, a democratic presidential candidate, a complete investigation of the Amazon by the federal labor health and security administration.

Sanders tweeted that an investigation is long delayed and cites reports of "dangerous, dehumanizing relationships."

Amazon responded in a statement saying that Sanders & # 39; accusations are "not an accurate portrayal of working conditions in warehouses. Amazon also renewed its invitation to Sanders to visit satisfaction centers, write, "he undertook to visit, but to date he has never stepped foot in one of our buildings."

Sanders later tweeted: "I'm not interested in a picture of a Amazon stock. I ask that the labor inspectors come in, unannounced, and do thorough investigations of the facilities where hundreds of workers have told me about terrible conditions and abuses. "

Companies say China is competition

The Judicial Committee held its hearing as part of a" top-to-bottom "technology industry antitrust survey announced last month, a previous hearing focused on the technology industry's impact on the news industry. will focus on "innovation and entrepreneurship."

In prepared remarks for the antitrust hearing on Tuesday, the four executives representing the technical giants defended their companies against charges of becoming dangerously powerful, playing their "quintessentially American" basic stories, in Perault's words, underlining the competition they face, both at home and abroad

"We have competitors all over the world, especially in China, including companies such as WeChat and TikTok," said Perault in the opening posts. , Director of Economic Policy at Google, that even in its dominant search business, can Consumers still choose between rivals such as Bing and Yahoo.

The companies also played the ways their online platforms support small businesses. But despite the increasing scrutiny, Big Tech has continued to move forward with efforts to become even bigger.

Growing Companies

In the weeks since news of potential US antitrust probes first broke, Google announced a $ 2.6 billion purchase to strengthen its cloud computing division, Jeff Bezos plagued Amazon plans to spend billions to launch thousands of satellites that offer broadband internet, and Facebook unveiled Libra with the potential to change financial and payment systems around the world.

The first Libra hearing suggests this aggressive approach to enlargement can only make it harder for companies like Facebook to win over skeptical politicians at the antitrust hearing. In recent weeks, tech companies have stepped up several lines of defense.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told CNN Business last month that it's bigger "offers many benefits", including the ability to invest in groundbreaking technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum measurement. Similarly, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg has recently said that it is greater that enables the company to invest in preventing the spread of misinformation and election interventions. Execs from both companies have also suggested that the breakdown of US technology companies may benefit businesses in other countries, namely China.

The shift in DC's sentiment towards Silicon Valley has long come. Since the 2016 election, Internet giants such as Facebook and Google have been involved in a series of PR crises on data integrity, the role their platforms played in electoral districts, and the spread of misinformation, and raised concerns about the full impact these powerful businesses have on society. At the same time, these internet companies have increasingly expanded beyond their original markets to new categories, including healthcare, entertainment and transportation.

The Court's inquiry is likely to result in a report describing possible policy recommendations previously cited by Cicilline and may lead to new legislation in the coming months.

But if the hearing on Tuesday is any indication, Washington may have difficulty in reining in these companies. At various points in the hearing, house representatives asked raising questions about how Facebook beat MySpace and why Apple sends messages to sign up for iCloud subscriptions.

CNN's Pamela Boycoff, Alison Kosik and Kevin Liptak contributed to this story.

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