On Wednesday, the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google all testified before the House Judiciary Committee’s Antitrust Subcommittee on Antitrust as part of the Subcommittee’s investigation into the anticompetitive practices of online platforms. The hearing, titled “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google,”was the sixth hearing in the bipartisan investigation, originally launched last year by the Chair of the Subcommittee David Cicilline (D-RI) and then-Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA). During the hearing, several representatives questioned the CEOs on issues that the Alliance highlighted in our recent White Paper. Specifically, Representative Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) compared Google’s ad exchange to a stock market, but with no regulation, allowing Google to abuse its market power at the expense of journalists. Google CEO Sundar Pichai was adamant that Google is “deeply committed to journalism” and that its business with news publishers remains a “low margin business for us,” but did not address the control over ads without accountability or the increasing ad revenue for Google-owned sites at the expense of websites not owned by Google. The Alliance is following the investigations into the online platforms closely and will continue to advocate for the safe harbor as a critical solution to the problem caused by the platform’s anticompetitive conduct.
You can see a highlight reel of the hearing’s discussion of the tech platforms’ impact on journalism below.