MEP Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, broke into the heads of some of the country’s largest technology companies on Wednesday, beating the leaders of Google, Facebook and other technology giants as “in search of conservatives.”
Jordan spoke at a meeting of the distant house justice subcommittee on antitrust law of a list of cases where large technology and social media companies had censored or removed contributions from conservative lawmakers or thinkers before he expressed concern about the role of the Technology expressed in the upcoming November elections.
Jordan focused much of his anger on Twittter – whose leader was not present at the hearing – after the company “locked” his account in 2018. The company informed Jordan that it was a bug in its algorithm that led to it being blocked.
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“If I had nickel for every time I heard it was just a glitch, I wouldn’t be as rich as our witnesses, but I would be fine,” said Jordan.
Jordan’s comments, which came during the opening speech, marked the beginning of the barbecue that the four big tech CEOs – Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook, Jeff Bezos from Amazon, Sundar Pichai from Google and Tim Cook from Apple – during the hearing both democratic and Republican lawmakers also took part.
The four tech CEOs have companies with gold-plated brands, millions or even billions of customers and a total value that lies above the entire German economy. One of them, Bezos, is the richest person in the world. Zuckerberg is the fourth-placed billionaire.
Critics ask whether companies suppress competition and innovation, raise prices for consumers and pose a threat to society.
In its cross-party investigation, the Justice subcommittee gathered testimony from medium-sized executives from the four companies, competitors and legal experts and searched more than a million company documents. A key question: whether existing competition policies and centuries-old antitrust laws are appropriate for monitoring technology giants or whether new laws and enforcement funding are required.
Subcommittee chair, Rep. David Cicilline, DR.I., has called the four corporate monopolies, although he says the division of monopolies should be the last resort. Forced separation seems unlikely, but Big Tech’s extensive investigation suggests possible new limitations on its power.
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“Simply put, they have too much power,” said Cicilline in Wednesday’s opening speeches as he exposed data that highlighted the power of the four technology companies as essential gears for trade and communications.
He also said that after the coronavirus pandemic, “these giants will benefit” and will become even more powerful if millions move more of their work and commerce online.
The companies are facing legal and political offensives emanating from Congress, the Trump administration, federal and state supervisory authorities and European watchdogs. The Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have examined the practices of the four companies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.