A complex period from many points of view for the Big Techs American: not only the emergency coronavirus to be faced, but also the heavy accusations made to them by the Congress of the United States.
And so, for the first time, Alphabet’s CEO, Amazon, Facebook and Apple came together (virtually) in audition before the American MPs.
The objections to companies (whose capitalization is worth over $5,000 billion) are different, and indeed anything but unpublished: abuse of dominant position, unfair competition, exploitation of other copyrights among the heavy ones.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and founder of Facebook, rejected the accusation that he had purchased Instagram as a potential competitor, claiming that at the time (we talk about 2012) the social network was far from being the preferred platform by a At the same time, the CEO admitted to having introduced Facebook functions and ideas from other companies, while denying that he had violated any copyright. Zuckerberg has also firmly rejected the accusation of moderate content in a well-defined political direction, and has stated that all social media moderators are adequately educated to be neutral.
The issue of influence on the electoral body was very present during the hearing, and the best fate certainly did not touch Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet (the holding company also owned by Google). If Facebook is often accused more or less directly of being in favour of Republicans, Google is considered pro-democratic: for this reason Pichai has had the toughest clashes and the most thorny questions precisely by members of the Republican party, which
It should be stressed, and it must be done, that this hearing of the Big Techs is taking place at a very important historical moment: we are in fact a few months away from the US presidential elections, and it is difficult (if not impossible) to deny how strongly this is
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, also suffered the charges of the congress, again with obvious political bases in the background. It’s no mystery that Bezos and Donald Trump don’t feel. Amazon is also accused of exploiting third party vendor data on the platform to promote its brands and products, effectively making unfair competition. Bezos could not deny that this happened (or still happens), but he stressed that company policies are contrary to this behaviour and that where discovered it is sanctioned.
Finally, Apple’s Tim Cook has been faced with defending the work of the App Store: according to the accusers, Apple would maintain high levels of commissions on the sale of apps by relying on its dominant position on the market.
a firm claim rejected by Cook, claiming that Apple is anything but just operating on the market: Android is a strong and aggressive competitor, but Xbox and PlayStation also play an active role.
It is difficult to say at this time what the consequences for the Big Techs of these hearings will be: the feeling is that it is mainly a display of muscles by Democrats and Republicans with the presidential elections in the background. The United States, moreover, is struggling with absolute gravity problems, first of all the widespread diffusion of coronavirus and the consequent dramatic decline in gross domestic product. We will certainly see other chapters of this, and we will be ready to give you an account.