A busy day of hearings suggests Congress isn’t likely to let up any time soon on tech companies. Executives from Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google all faced questioning from lawmakers on alleged anti-conservative bias, antitrust concerns and content moderation.
Google’s Karan Bhatia, its top policy chief, made his first appearance on Capitol Hill on behalf of the company to defend against claims it is biased against conservative viewpoints. Democrats at the hearing, held by a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, were more focused on videos depicting violent or offensive events surfacing on Google, calling the bias allegations a distraction.
Meanwhile, in the House, Democrats on the antitrust panel of the Judiciary Committee focused on concerns that Amazon favors its own products over those of third-party sellers. The hearing featured subcommittee chairman David Cicilline, Democrat from Rhode Island, reminding an Amazon executive that he was under oath before asking him if the company used data it had on consumer buying patterns to compete with independent sellers. Amazon’s Nate Sutton, the company’s associate general counsel, said it didn’t.
The hearings produced some fireworks, and made it clear that tech is still losing friends by the day on Capitol Hill. Whether the country is now any closer to meaningful regulation of the tech industry is a tougher question.