US: Companies plead for Congress to regulate Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google

Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google took a public lashing at a congressional hearing Friday, January 17, where some of their smaller rivals, including Sonos and Tile, pleaded with federal lawmakers to take swift action against Big Tech.

According to the Washing Post, Democrats and Republicans at times appeared stunned as they heard tales of technology giants wielding their massive footprints as weapons, allegedly copying smaller competitors’ features or tweaking their algorithms in ways that put new companies at a costly disadvantage. The testimony came as part of a wide-ranging antitrust probe into Silicon Valley’s biggest players that House lawmakers aim to wrap up in the coming months.

The pleas for regulatory relief resonated with lawmakers, led by Rep. David N. Cicilline (Democrat – Rhode Island), the chairman of the House’s top antitrust committee. “It has become clear these firms have tremendous power as gatekeepers to shape and control commerce online,” Cicilline said to open the session.

The hearing at the University of Colorado at Boulder put public faces on the pain caused by some of the largest tech companies in the United States. Cicilline and other lawmakers have sought to determine if federal antitrust law is sufficient to hold Silicon Valley leaders accountable — and whether changes to federal law are necessary to address anti-competitive concerns in search, smartphones, e-commerce and social networking.

“I think it’s clear there’s abuse in the marketplace and a need for action,” said Rep. Ken Buck (Republican – Colorado).

Full Content: Washington Post

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