Big Tech executives due on Capitol Hill next week for antitrust hearing

By Reuters 

WASHINGTON - Executives from Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet’s Google will testify before a House of Representatives congressional committee next week in a hearing to discuss the tremendous market power wielded by online platforms.

The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo from Reuters files. The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo from Reuters files. (REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN)

In a statement on Tuesday, the House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee said witnesses would include: Adam Cohen, director of economic policy at Google; Nate Sutton, associate general counsel for regulation at Amazon; Facebook’s Matt Perault, head of global policy development and Apple vice president for corporate law Kyle Andeer.

The hearing will be held on Tuesday, July 16, the advisory said.

Apple and Google did not respond to a request for comment. Facebook had no immediate comment. Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said they will testify, but did not share details.

Separately, a subcommittee of the Senate judiciary panel said in a notice on Tuesday that it had also scheduled a hearing for July 16. It was not immediately clear who would attend.

The hearings come as the House Judiciary Committee is probing competition in digital markets as part of an investigation announced last month, with both Republicans and Democrats expressing concern about the power exercised by several of the world’s most valuable companies.

The executive branch has antitrust probes underway with the Justice Department looking at Google and Apple while the FTC probes Facebook and Amazon.

The hearing also comes at a time when both Republicans and Democrats have expressed exasperation with the big tech giants, but for different reasons.

Conservatives, including U.S. President Donald Trump, have complained that social media companies try to diminish their voices online.

Meanwhile, progressives like presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren have called for Amazon, Google and Facebook to sell companies that they purchased previously as a way to address competition concerns.

Furthermore, Facebook is expected to pay a $5 billion penalty for its work with a consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which obtained data from millions of Facebook users without their permission. Cambridge was hired by President Donald Trump for his 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.

Social media and technology executives have been called to testify before lawmakers in high-profile hearings on various subjects over the past two years, including on foreign influence operations on their platforms.