CEO’s from the country, and world’s, largest tech companies – Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple – will be heard in a congressional hearing today in the first steps of what could become an antitrust investigation against these monopolies and how they are affecting, manipulating, censoring, and exploiting the market.
It will be a remote hearing and it’s congress so it’s not like it will be exciting but it will definitely be interesting. Seeing how some of the most successful business leaders answer to this subcommittee about their practices and ideologies in how they conduct their business will definitely shape big tech policies and oversight going forward. A lot of eyes will be on Amazon’s Jeff Bezos as this is the first time he has ever appeared before congress. President Trump tweeted earlier that if congress doesn’t begin to act in regulating these autocratic players, then he will take action.
Personally, I think the questions that lawmakers are asking should be centered around the privacy of user’s data and censorship.
Obviously the algorithms that these tech companies have are some of the most coveted trade secrets in the world, but how they rank search results needs to continue to be monitored to reduce bias and make it a truly free market. Google in particular has the power to shadow ban different ideas and opinions that their neural network deems necessary, and there is often speculation that this bias leans against conservative outlets and voices.
I fear that these congressmen/women simply don’t know enough about the technology to ask questions that will really get to the core of the answers. These are super complex issues that I won’t try to explain and/or really understand. But, I know that there are glaring issues that Google and Facebook control almost 70% of online advertising, and can starve companies to death, basically, if they choose to do so.
The clouds that these companies use will continue to increase the amount of data that is stored and them having the overall infrastructure that holds all our information. There needs to be some type of insurance policy in place that protects the people, and we need to ensure that these companies aren’t abusing their powers.
I’m not expecting any huge news to come out of this hearing but I think it will be interesting especially after a what seems like an increase in censorship and publishing powers in the past few months as we near towards an election.
Hopefully unlike Bill Barr’s hearing yesterday the lawmakers actually give these men a chance to talk.