Wednesday’s meeting was supposed to focus on anti-competitive practices; instead, there were constant questions about censorship, political favoritism, and unsolicited e-mail. email flow
Wednesday’s congressional meeting on possible antitrust practices among high-tech companies, including testimonies from key executives at Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, a major Google company, was immortalized between insightful and simply absurd; frankly, the hearing was more focused on the latter and is unlikely to have a lasting effect.
Together, Facebook spokesman Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Sundar Pichai own companies with a combined valuation of $ 4.85 trillion. There were important questions worth asking about their business ̵1; and some were asked – but listening a few times turned into a farce; questions about censorship decisions made by technology companies not even included in the court hearing was asked, and at other times the representatives shouted at each other wearing masks.
If you miss a hearing, don’t worry. Seven moments stood out here.
1. Censorship was a topical issue
Wednesday’s meeting was largely focused on the anti-competitive practices of the four technology giants. But social media censorship, as some might have expected, remained a topic that VV congressmen wanted to discuss. However, things did not go so well. At an early hearing, spokesman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Asked Zuckerberg why his company had canceled Donald Trump’s junior report on hydroxychloroquine. The problem, however, was that Sensenbrenner had in mind what Twitter did, not Facebook.
“I think you can rely on what happened on Twitter,” Zuckerberg said.
In other cases, Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s experience by censoring content, saying the company “stood out as one of the companies most defending free expression.” He added that Facebook is not interested in being “truth arbiters”, but continues to focus on removing hate content.
On Wednesday, the divide seemed that Republicans were worried that Facebook was trying too hard to find out the content, and Democrats like Dave Cicilline robbed Facebook that it had not made enough censorship to censor hate speech.
2. It was easy for Bezos – until he did
The Amazon CEO praised for nearly two hours and was not asked a single question – a noticeable amount of time that many Twitter users quickly noticed. But circumstances changed when the representative sect Jayapal from Amazon’s native state in Washington pressured Bezos about Amazon’s business practices. “Let me ask you, Mr Bezos, does Amazon ever use and use vendor data in making business decisions?” The Democrat asked.
Bezos said Amazon’s policy banned the move, but he “can’t guarantee” it never happened.
Bezos later asked if Amazon had deliberately lowered the price of diapers to the detriment of Diapers.com; Republican Mary Gay Scanlon (D-Penn.) Said documents showed Amazon wanted to lose $ 200 million by selling cheap diapers to hurt a competitor. Finally, Amazon 2010 Bought by Diapers.com for $ 450 million. According to Scanlon, the move was a great example for Amazon to use its weight to systematically eliminate competitors. Bezos said he disagreed with the assumption and did not remember too much the events that took place a decade ago. The two exchanges stood out as rare moments when Wednesday’s hearing seemed to stick to the script.
3. The masks became the new muzzle
There were a few test moments, including when Representative Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) was told to put on a mask when he made an exception for Scanlon, saying he was putting censorship on “fringe conspiracy theories.” You can see the moment below by kindly agreeing with CBS News:
“Put on a mask!”
During the technical hearing, the summoning among the members of the House Subcommittee ends after Representative Mary Gay Scanlon offers Representative Jim Jordan to push “peripheral conspiracy theories” https://t.co/83sKht0bRx pic.twitter.com/E6fEZKT6tO.
– CBS News (@CBSNews), 2020 July 29
4. Zuckerberg defends the acquisition of Instagram
Zuckerberg withdrew in an animated manner when Jerry Nadler (D-NY), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, alleged that Facebook had violated antitrust laws when in 2012. Acquired Instagram for $ 1 billion. time for photo sharing apps; he also noted that the Federal Trade Commission understood this when approving the transaction. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the deal doesn’t look so right now that Instagram has more than 1 billion users, but the platform’s success at the time was no guarantee.
“I think from the back it looks like it’s probably obvious that Instagram has reached the scale it has today, but that wasn’t entirely obvious at the time,” Zuckerberg said.
Nadler doubled, saying Zuckerberg’s confession to Instagram posed a threat to Facebook’s business, only to show that it was primarily a corrupt deal.
“This is precisely the anti-competitive acquisition that was intended to prevent antitrust law,” Nadler said. “First of all, it should never have happened, it should never have been allowed to happen, and it can’t happen again.”
5. Pichai says Google doesn’t show political favorites
Despite many conservative fears, Pichai said Google deliberately does not remove conservative markets from its search results. Pichai added that Google is politically “neutral” and is doing nothing to unfairly push stories in favor of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden at the expense of President Trump. “We will not make any effort to tilt anyone politically in one way or another,” Pichai said. “It goes against our core values.”
His comments came after Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Alex Marlow told Fox News Tucker Carlson that his site had seen his Google-directed traffic fall off a cliff since 2016. Election.
6. There is no slave labor
All four technical experts promised never to use slave labor in developing their products in response to a rep. Keno Buck from Colorado question. “I would like to see the legislation with you, I am a congressman. Let me be clear: forced labor is disgusting, and we would not tolerate it at Apple, Cook said.
The question was not entirely obvious; The office of Senior Josh Hawley (Missouri) recently said several global companies, including Nike, were involved in ethnic Uighur minority slave labor camps in China. Given Apple’s close business ties with China, as well as the alphabetical ties with the country, the team’s reaction was good to hear.
Finally, Cook, the man who runs the most valuable company in the world, spent a relatively quiet day. He actually defended the App Store on several different points, saying the company could charge a 30% commission on all App Store sales, but that this is almost a monopoly when it comes to the app market (or any other market).
7. El. Postal problems
One of the funniest moments – or a bigger waste of time, depending on your point of view – came when the rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) Asked Picha a simple question: why his campaign email. Are emails routed directly to the Gmail spam folder?
Steube worried about his parents and followers that he was having a hard time getting his campaign email. Letters – and wondered if this had anything to do with anti-Republican bias on Google. Pichai said it really wasn’t the case and that he just found himself in Gmail, preferring email. For letters from accounts she knew were related to friends and family.
You can see the whole Steube question here:
Rep. Steube complains to Google manager about campaign email Mail directed to Gmail spam and says it only happens to Republicans. (No, almost every campaign addresses email delivery issues.) Pic.twitter.com/XH1floO9ff
– Tony Webster (@webster), 2020 July 29
The exchange was the microcosm of the day. The meeting not only addressed issues that were not relevant to the subject under consideration, but also did not provide some valuable details on whether the four companies were involved in anti-competitive activities. Don’t expect much from Wednesday’s meeting.