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CEOs from Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple faced jabs for alleged abuse of their market power!

Washington, DCTensions between lawmakers were high during a much-anticipated congressional hearing on Wednesday, July 29 with four of America's most prominent tech CEOs in the hot seat.

When Republican Jim Jordan concluded questions about fears that Google's powerful search engine might steer voters to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Representative Mary Scanlon criticized Jordan's line of questioning. "I'd like to redirect your attention to antitrust law rather than fringe conspiracy theories," she said. "There is no fringe conspiracy," Jordan snapped back, prompting lawmakers to shout "Put your mask on!"

The issue of masks has been contentious between House Republicans and Democrats, especially following another positive case from one of their own colleagues on Wednesday, July 29. Republican U.S. congressman Louie Gohmert, who has steadfastly refused to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic, said on Wednesday he had tested positive for COVID-19, leading at least three of his colleagues to say they would self-quarantine.

The moment with Rep. Jordan came during an hours-long hearing in which Google and Facebook took the sharpest jabs for alleged abuse of their market power from Democrats and Republicans.
Facebook Inc's Mark Zuckerberg, Inc's Jeff Bezos, Alphabet Inc -owned Google's Sundar Pichai and Apple Inc's Tim Cook - whose companies together represent about $5 trillion of market value - parried a range of accusations from lawmakers via videoconference before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel.

On the Republican side, Jordan accused the companies of taking a long list of actions that he said showed they try to hamper conservatives from reaching their supporters."Big Tech is out to get conservatives," he said. The companies have denied allegations of political censorship. Jordan's allegations come after President Donald Trump, who has clashed with several of the biggest tech companies, on Wednesday threatened to take action against them.

"If Congress doesn't bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders," Trump said on Twitter. The president did not provide details but in the past has been irritated by tech companies, including Facebook and Twitter, which have occasionally taken action on his postings on issues such as treatments for the coronavirus. He has also clashed with the Washington Post, which is owned by Bezos.
Facebook's Zuckerberg took a series of questions about the company's purchase of Instagram in 2012, and whether it was acquired because it was a threat. Zuckerberg responded that the deal had been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and that Instagram at the time was a tiny photo-sharing app rather than a social-media phenomenon.

Cicilline's subcommittee has been looking in to allegations by critics that the companies have hurt competitors and consumers with their business practices and seemingly insatiable appetite for data. The hearing marks the first time the four CEOs have appeared together before lawmakers, and was also the first-ever appearance of Bezos before Congress.
A detailed report with antitrust allegations against the four tech platforms and recommendations on how to tame their market power could be released by late summer or early fall by the committee, which has separately amassed 1.3 million documents from the companies, senior committee aides said.

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