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The Senate panel forces CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter to testify about political bias

A U.S. Senate panel voted Thursday to force the testimony of CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter as lawmakers opened a new front in the fight over hate speech, misinformation and perceived political bias on social media a month before the presidential election.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Marcy Gordon for Associated Press:

The Senate Commerce Committee approved subpoenas for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google’s Sundar Pichai and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey to force them to attend a scheduled hearing if they do not agree to do so voluntarily.

Leaders’ testimonies are needed “to uncover the extent of the influence companies have over American speech at a critical time in our democratic process,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, a Republican in Mississippi who chairs the committee.

The committee’s unanimous vote marked the start of a new two-party initiative against Big Tech companies, which has been under increasing scrutiny in Washington and from public prosecutors in general over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.

The three CEOs are summoned to testify when the Ministry of Justice moves against antitrust actions against Google with a focus on the company’s dominance in online search and whether it was used to stifle competition and harm consumers. A coalition of two parties consisting of 50 US states and territories, led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, has also examined Google’s business practices. They have cited “potential monopolistic behavior.”

Facebook, Amazon and Apple have also been the target of extensive antitrust investigations by the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission.

In the House, a subcommittee on the judiciary has pursued its own two-party investigation of Big Tech’s market dominance. Zuckerberg and Pichai as well as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook testified at a high-profile hearing of the panel in July.

MacDailyNews Take: The Google problem needs to be fixed. The company is the poster child for why there are antitrust laws.

In March 2019, Europe’s antitrust regulators ordered Google to pay 1.49 billion euros ($ 1.7 billion) to freeze rivals in the electronic advertising business.

Google is a monopoly. A breach of Google would be welcome. In fact, even as we try to move away from the ad-supported model, we support whatever means or remedies that will introduce competition in the online advertising business, which is partly ruined because too much power is concentrated with Google. This situation is exactly why antitrust laws exist. – MacDailyNews, June 6, 2020

Imagine if your livelihood depended on one company that not only monopolized web search (and thus basically controlled how new customers find you), but also controlled most of the online advertising dollars that funded your business and that they could withdraw, only threatening to withdraw, or reduce prices at any time? Imagine, too, if you believe that this monopolist initially stole the product from another company that is the very subject of your business? How much would you criticize the monopoly thief’s business practices?

You can guess that it would be a tough road to walk. (We just imagine, of course!)

That would be a good example of why monopoly is bad for everyone.

The US government has completely failed to police Google. Because the people with the power to do so are currently corrupt. Follow the money. Hopefully, the EU will help rectify the situation.

In the meantime, you can stop using Google search and Google products where possible. Monopoly is bad for everyone. – MacDailyNews, July 14, 2016

If you have not already done so, try DuckDuckGo! https://duckduckgo.com

With this unique power, platforms have the ability to redirect advertising dollars that once went to newspapers and magazines in their pockets. No company should have the power to choose which content reaches consumers and which does not. – MacDailyNews, November 9, 2017

We would like to see real competition in the online search and advertising markets one day restored. – MacDailyNews, March 20, 2019

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