Facebook, Google is facing House anti-trust probe

Rep. David N. Cicilline of Rhode Island (Jahi Chikwendiu / Washington Post)

House Democrats are planning a sweeping review of Facebook, Google and other technology giants decide whether they have become so large and powerful that they aggravate competition and harm consumers, marking a new, unprecedented antitrust threat to an increasingly growing industry is besieged by Congress, White House and 2020 presidential candidates. 19659005] The probe, announced Monday by Rep. David Cicilline (RI), head of the house's top panel, is expected to be far-reaching and come for a moment as the Democrats and Republicans find themselves in rare adaptations to the idea that the tech industry has been too unregulated for too long. The sentiment encouraged a sharp sale in technical shares to start the week.

Cicilline said the survey would not target a particular technology company, but rather focus on the broad belief that "the Internet is destroyed," he told reporters. Thus, he pointed to problematic practices of tech giants such as Google, who have met sanctions in Europe to prioritize their services in search of rivals, and Facebook, which Cicilline criticized for cloning and acquiring competitors to ensure its continued dominance in social networks.

Amazon and Apple could also find out in the committee's early plans, he said and warned the goal is a wider look at the industry.

"In many ways, it was dislike in the early days of the Internet to disturb," said the democratic legislature. "It created so much value in human life that you should get out of the way and let it flourish."

"Over time, Cicilline continued," people have recognized that there are some real dangers here. "

Cicilline said Democrats would hold hearings, seek documents – even by summons, if necessary – and deposit witnesses as may include the leaders of Silicon Valley's largest corporations, who may also be asked to testify publicly. His office said that technology companies, for all their innovations, had created "escalating crises" from destroying Americans' privacy rights to deprive advertising revenue of cash-strapped local news.

In the past few days, the Trump administration has signaled that it has also set its sights on Silicon Valley, and is taking early steps to split up future competition surveys of the Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. The efforts of the US Government's two law enforcement agencies, the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department, could pave the way for more formal probes of each company's practice, even though the exact interests of the agencies are not known.

Nevertheless, the early efforts won support even among democratic presidential candidates, such as Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who has long demanded to break up big tech. Over the weekend, the Congress Republicans also praised the Trump administration for drawing attention to the industry. "This is very big news, and overdue," tweeted Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley.

Amazon, Apple and Facebook did not respond to comment requests, and Google declined comment. (Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos owns the Washington Post.)

The broad, two-sided focus on Silicon Valley presents the entire technology industry with what could be the biggest political test after many years of enjoying relatively smooth sailing in the country's capital. Even when world regulators had attempted to challenge these companies' business practices, Europe has fined Google $ 9 billion over the past three years, for example – Washington had been a strong ally of Facebook, Google and their peers.

However, the election in 2016 began to destroy political goodwill, as congressmen began to realize whether malicious actors could capitalize on social networks with large, perhaps unattended, reaches to spreading real-time truths. A flood of privacy violations, especially on Facebook, reinforced some lawmakers' feeling that large tech giants had enriched themselves in the user's personal information – and did not allow people to use alternative services.

"For a while, tech couldn't do anything wrong. They were the font for all innovation and good things, and progress and democracy," said Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a think tank that counts Apple and Microsoft in "And now the flower of the rose."

However, Atkinson stressed that the industry had produced some of the most favored services of consumers, from Facebook's messaging apps to Amazon's fast-paced delivery of goods that had taken weeks to order. " Of the reasons why this is so hard to sell, "he said." Most consumers just don't see a problem. "On Monday, Cicilline called a" monopoly "for the technology industry and resembled his sample survey on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and their technology peers to previous congresses are probing airlines and telephone providers, each of which resulted in fine tuning of the country's antitrust laws. 8 months, he said that the Court Committee and its top antitrust panel would focus its assessment on making its own recommendations.

"The open Internet has provided tremendous benefits to the Americans, including an increase in economic opportunity, massive investment and new paths to online education," said Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the entire court committee. "But there is growing evidence that one handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control of key arteries of electronic commerce, content and communication. "

New antitrust control helped drive down tech stocks Monday, the Facebook stock was down by more than 7 percent, Google fell by 6 percent , Amazon fell 4 percent and Apple 1 percent, a small loss that came on the same day, the iPhone giant uncovered a number of new software updates on its annual developer conference.

In recent months, a growing Chorus of politicians, academics, and business leaders has claimed that technological giants have accumulated too much power and that they should be regulated – or even broken up. In May, Chris Hughes, co-founder of Fac ebook, in an op-ed that It was time to break up the company.

Critics of Amazon have pointed out the company's dominance of retail e-commerce sales – estimated to be nearly 40 percent of the market, according to eMarketer data from May 2019. Meanwhile, Amazon has expanded into new business areas such as groceries , and gathered a massive cloud computing footprint. Amazon argues, however, that it controls a small portion of all retail in an industry dominated by players like Walmart, the largest US retailer.

For Apple, consistency is consistently App Store, a game portal and other software controlled by Apple. The IPhone manufacturer has long joined forces with companies such as Spotify, a music streaming app that competes with Apple's proprietary offer, over costs that Apple makes it harder for competitors to operate. Apple has denied it, but the EU has apparently investigated the case.

Google has long struggled to fight back EU regulators who feel that their search, advertising and smartphones are disadvantageous for competitors. US regulators have previously investigated the company, but chose not to bring large penalties when they completed the survey in 2013. With Facebook, the struggles with disinformation and privacy have driven conversations from a number of critics – including Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook – who says that is time to break up the company.

"The internet platforms have operated with impunity since they were founded and produced terrible results for democracy, public health, privacy and competition," said Roger McNamee, an early investor in Apple, Facebook and Google, and a former advisor to Facebook's CEO. Mark Zuckerberg who has since become a critic of the companies.

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