Wednesday’s hearing was to focus on anti-competitive practices; Instead, a steady stream of questions stood out over censorship, political partisanship and spam email
Wednesday’s congressional hearing on potential lethal practices among major tech companies – featuring testimony from chief executives of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company – vaccinations between blissful and downright absurd; Clearly, the hearing leaned more towards the latter and is unlikely to have a lasting effect.
Together, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai have companies with a combined valuation of $ 4.85 trillion. There were few questions worth asking about how their businesses operated – and some were asked – but on many occasions, hearing developed into a field; Questions about censorship decisions made by tech companies Not even involved in hearing Whereas at other times, delegates yelled at each other for wearing masks.
If you missed the hearing, don’t worry about it. Here are seven moments that stood out.
1. Censorship was a hot topic
Wednesday’s hearing focused primarily on anti-competitive practices by the four tech giants. But social media censorship, as expected by some, could become a topic that many GOP congressmen preferred to discuss. However, things did not start off well. At the start of the hearing, Rep. Jim Zimmerbrenner (R-Wis.) Asked Zuckerberg why his company took Donald Trump Jr.’s recent post about hydroxychloroquine. However, this was the problem, Sensenbrenner was referring to some Twitter, not Facebook.
“I think you can mention what’s happening on Twitter,” Zuckerberg said.
At other points, Zuckerberg defended Facebook’s track record over censoring content, saying the company “distinguished itself as one of the companies that most defend free expression.” He said that Facebook is not interested in being an “arbiter of truth”, but it focuses on taking out hateful content.
The dividing line on Wednesday seemed to be that Republicans were worrying that Facebook was breaking too much on content, while Democratic representatives such as Dave Siciline reprimanded Facebook for not doing enough to censor hate speech.
2. It was easy for Bezos – until he did
Amazon’s head oncho went nearly two hours without asking a question – a specific length of time that many Twitter users were quick to point out. Circumstances changed, however, when Rep. Pramila Jaipal, from the US state home state of Washington, pressed Bezos on Amazon’s business practices. “Let me ask you, Mr. Bezos, does Amazon ever access and use seller’s data when making business decisions?” The Democrat asked.
Bezos said Amazon’s policy prohibits such a move, but he “can’t guarantee” it never happened.
Later, Bezos was asked whether Amazon intentionally slashed the price of diapers to weaken diapers.com; Rape Mary Gay Schnallon (D-Pain) said that documents show that Amazon was willing to lose $ 200 million if it sold cheap diapers to bump up any competitor. Ultimately, Amazon purchased Diaper.com in 2010 for $ 450 million. According to Scanlon, the move was a prime example of Amazon systematically weeding out its rivals. Bezos said he did not agree with Aadhaar, and did not remember too much about the events, which took place more than a decade ago. Both exchanges turned out to be rare moments when Wednesday’s hearing seemed to be clinging to the script.
3. Masks become the new snout
There were moments of testimony, in which Rep. Jim Giordan (R-Ohio) was told that he left Schnallon when he proceeded to “The Theory of the Fringe Conspiracy” over Censon. You can watch the moment below, courtesy of CBS News:
“Put on your mask!”
Screaming among members of the House Subcommittee, after the rape. Mary Gay Schnallon cites the rape. Jim Jordan insists on “Fringe Conspiracy Conspiracy” https://t.co/83sKht0bRx. pic.twitter.com/E6fEZKT6tO
– CBS News (@CBSNews) July 29, 2020
4. Zuckerberg defends Instagram takeover
Zuckerberg, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerry Nadler (D-NY), said Facebook had violated conflicting laws when it acquired Instagram in 2012 for $ 1 billion. The move was not illegal, as Facebook and Instagram had many contestants. Time in the context of photo-sharing apps; He also pointed out that the Federal Trade Commission understood this when approving the deal. Zuckerberg acknowledged that the deal no longer seems fair given that Instagram has more than 1 billion users, but the platform was no guarantee of success at the time.
“I think it is clear with blindness that Instagram has reached the scale it is today, but it was clear at the time,” Zuckerberg said.
Nadler said Zuckerberg’s entry on Instagram was a threat to Facebook’s business, indicating it was a corrupt deal at first.
“This is actually a type of antiemetic acquisition that was designed to circumvent antitrust laws,” Nadler said. “It should never have happened in the first place, it should never have happened, and it can’t happen again.”
5. Pichai says that Google is not playing political choice
Despite the concerns of many conservatives, Pichai said that Google is not intentionally belittling conservative outlets from its search results. Pichai said that Google is politically “neutral” and is doing nothing at the expense of President Trump unfairly pushing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. “We will not do any work in any way or any other way to be politically inclined,” Pichai said. “It is against our core values.”
His remarks come after Alex Marlow, editor-in-chief of Breitbart.com, in which Fox News stated that Tucker Carlson had seen his Google-referred traffic fall from a cliff since the 2016 election on his website.
6. No slave labor
All four vow to never use slave labor to make their products in response to a question from Rep. Ken Buck from Tech Colorado. “I would love to make laws with you, Congressmen.” Let me be clear: forced labor is disgusting, and we will not tolerate it at Apple, ”Cook said.
The question was not completely out of the blue; The office of Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) recently stated that several global companies, including Naik, have been forced to labor camps of ethnic Uyghur minorities in China. Given Apple’s close trade relations with China, as well as Alphabet’s connections to the country, the collective response was good to hear.
Ultimately, Cook – the man running the world’s most valuable company – had a relatively quiet day. He defended the App Store on a few different points, stating that the company could charge a 30% commission on all App Store sales, but that it did not own a monopoly when it came to the app market (or any other market).
7. Email problem
One of the funniest moments – or a huge waste of time, depending on your point of view – came when Rep. Greg Stube (R-Fla) asked Pichai a simple question: why his campaign emails were going directly to Gmail’s spam folder Huh?
Stube worried his parents and followers that he was having a hard time getting his campaign emails – and wonders if it had anything to do with anti-Republican bias at Google. Pichai said that was certainly not the case, and it was only instigated for Gmail, it prioritized emails from accounts that it knew were linked to friends and family.
You can see Stube’s full question here:
Rape Stubbe complains to the CEO of Google about his campaign email going to the Gmail spam box, saying that this is happening only to Republicans. (No, pretty much every campaign deals with email delivery issues.) pic.twitter.com/XH1floO9ff
– Tony Webster (@webster) July 29, 2020
The exchange was a microcosm of the day. The hearing not only led to questions that were not germane to the topic at the time, it also failed to provide some meaningful details on whether the four companies participated in anti-competitive practices. Don’t expect much to come in Wednesday’s hearing.