The top members of the four largest U.S. Internet and technology companies Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google were grilled at a congressional hearing on Wednesday. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were asked the toughest questions. The Democratic camp had questions about market dominance and unfair competition, and Republicans questioned the alleged censorship of conservative opinions on social media.
The four appeared by videoconference on the House Special Committee. The committee is preparing new rules for the tech industry.
For Bezos, it was the first time he had appeared before deputies. The Amazon boss was asked by Democrats about working with retailers on the Amazon platform. Bezos stressed that there are internal rules to prevent these retailers from competing with Amazon itself, but he cannot guarantee that those rules will never be violated.
Zuckerberg, in turn, had to answer questions about the takeover of Instagram and Whatsapp. The Facebook boss had to admit that these two services complement Facebook, but were also competitors.
For Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, there were several questions about how the company handles app developers. Like the other CEOs, Cook denied that his company was a dominant force.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai eventually had to answer questions about how it uses its search results to its own advantage.
Censorship of conservatives
The Democratic chairman of the Judiciary Committee accused tech companies of killing small businesses by their dominance.
Republicans, on the other hand, wanted to know more about censorship of the “great technology” of conservative opinions, a criticism that President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced. In the run-up to the hearing, Trump threatened to take action from the president if the House did not pass legislation.