The House Judiciary Committee’s Democratic chairman, Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, concluded today’s daylong hearing by hinting at what might lie ahead as lawmakers ponder federal regulations to hold the four companies — worth nearly a combined $5 trillion — to account.
In summary, Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., says Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple operate like monopolies and need to be broken up or regulated.
“These companies as they exist today have monopoly power. Some need to be broken up. All need to be properly regulated and held accountable,” said Cicilline, adding that antitrust laws written a century ago need to be updated for the digital age.
“When these laws were written, the monopolists were men named Rockefeller and Carnegie,” he said. “Today the men are named Zuckerberg, Cook, Pichai and Bezos. Once again, their control of the marketplace allows them to do whatever it takes to crush independent business and expand their own power. This must end.”
This power has been obvious for many years (and accelerated in 2020 due to COVID) however the political will has never been there until now, and agreeing the exact nature of the ‘stick’ or remedies to sort out the issues is never an easy task.
According to NPR, 4 key takeaways from today include the following:
- Bezos “can’t guarantee” Amazon never used seller data to make its own products
- Hurting the competition emerges as Democrats’ primary charge against Big Tech
- Republicans sidetrack hearing to air complaints over anti-conservative bias
- Missing from view? Zuckerberg’s reaction (when Bezos described social media as a “nuance destruction machine”)
NPR do a great job filling out the details and you can read the full article here