Lawmakers grill major tech CEOs about their business models

Washington DC Bureau

WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — Are the major tech giants too big, and too powerful? Lawmakers in Washington on both sides of the aisle say yes.

On Wednesday, they had a chance to grill tech CEOs about their business models. 

CEOs of the world’s largest tech companies faced accusations from lawmakers.

“These firms have too much power,” Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said.

That their platforms have become monopolies.

“Their dominance is killing small businesses,” Rep. Cicilline said.

Congressman David Cicilline says big tech buys up competition, and abuses Americans’ personal data. 

“There’s no escape from this surveillance, because there’s no alternative,” he said. “People are stuck.”

“Our services are about connection,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. “Our business model is advertising.”

But Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says tech expansion into new industries doesn’t kill competition. 

“When Amazon bought Whole Foods, they can compete against Krogers and Walmart. When Facebook bought WhatsApp, we compete against tel co’s who used to charge 10 cents a text message,” Zuckerberg said.

And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle were critical of big tech companies for the way they handle political speech on their platforms.

“I’ll just cut to the chase, big tech is out to get conservatives,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.

Republicans like Jim Jordan criticized tech companies for what he says is an obvious bias. 

“People are using their platform to disseminate provably false information, they do have an obligation to take it down,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said.

Democrat Adam Schiff says foreign actors like Russia use these platforms to spread false information. 

“Americans think theses are other Americans talking to them,” Rep. Schiff said. “When in fact they may be organized out of St. Petersburg.”

Lawmakers expressed interest in writing a bipartisan bill to better regulate tech.

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