For over a year, top lawmakers in Congress have been investigating Amazon, Apple), Facebook, and Google.
The investigation’s purpose? To determine whether the companies have abused their power and dominance in the online marketplace. Now, the CEOs of those companies are set to testify before lawmakers on Wednesday in the biggest hearing of its kind since Microsoft’s Bill Gates went to Washington in 1998. While most of the executives have appeared before Congress previously, they’ve never faced a situation quite like this one.
All four will testify alongside one another — and in a pandemic-driven twist, they will all attend the hearing virtually, using Cisco’s WebEx conferencing platform. The hearing begins at noon ET.
Expect lawmakers to pepper the companies with highly-specific questions about their businesses based on documents and other evidence gathered throughout the 13-month probe. Among other things, Amazon is under scrutiny for its use of seller data; Apple, over its app store policies; Facebook, for its acquisition strategy and its dominance in online advertising; and Google, for its own practices in search and advertising.
Of the four CEOs, however, much of the general public’s attention is likely to fall on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. The world’s richest man has never testified before Congress. Indeed, it’s rare to see Bezos interviewed in an unscripted or unfriendly setting, leading many to wonder how he is likely to perform under questioning.
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