The CEOs of Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple were grilled Wednesday by the House Antitrust Subcommittee regarding “how large tech platforms abuse their position to invade user privacy, muscle out or buy up competitors, and gouge suppliers and partners.” Both sides have beef with the major tech companies, but for differing reasons. A Reason article reported that “it quickly became apparent” from both sides of the aisle “that the real purpose of the hearing was political power.”
The Left supports government antitrust legislation. It is argued that Big Tech has become too big and powerful, effectively controlling the market and squashing any competition with their unfair practices.
“It is one thing to possess a monopoly and quite another to cause harm based off of the market power afforded through that monopoly position.”Dipayan Ghosh, Pozen Fellow at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy
Ghosh argued that despite the fact that it may not be blatantly obvious, these companies do harm consumers in a myriad of ways. Others agree that it is an issue Congress should further investigate. David Dayen, executive editor of The American Prospect, argued that our problem is not only with Big Tech, but rather that the whole “structure of modern capitalism favors companies that operate at once-unimaginable scale, in the absence of a government will to prevent monopolies from forming.”
The Right, while leery of the tech companies’ power, argues that the free market, not government intervention, is the best “cure” for monopolies.
“Everyone seems to hate America’s giant tech companies these days—except the hundreds of millions of people who use their products…”The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board
Conservative lawmakers railed on the CEOs, with Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) arguing that “while big is not inherently bad,” the companies have abused their power by, among other things, censoring conservative viewpoints. A Washington Examiner article criticized the hearing for failing to really dig into what “should have been the real question of the day” – the companies’ links to the Chinese Communist Party and their use of slave labor.