Scrutiny regarding big tech companies seems to escalate as every month goes by. While major social media giants and tech companies were already getting a lot of attention over how they handled user data, 2020 has been perhaps the most challenging year for big tech companies to date. The CEOs of Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Twitter (NYSE: TWTR), and Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) were all present for another session with lawmakers on Wednesday.
Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai were all present via teleconference technology to answer questions with U.S. senators regarding their respective companies and their roles in handling information. More specifically, with the Federal election now looming over the horizon, both sides of the political aisle remain more than interested in scrutinizing how these companies moderate online content.
For the most part, the tone was quite inquisitorial. The Senate Commerce Committee hearing saw members of both parties express their discontentment with how these companies handled online content. The Republican party, in particular, has proposed updating a 1996 law that shields internet platforms from user-related content liabilities. The new change would classify companies like Twitter and Facebook, which play a more active role in regulating their content, as publishers instead of just platforms, which would open them up to potential lawsuits.
“I believe Congress should update the law to make sure it’s working as intended,” said Mark Zuckerberg. “When a private company is making these calls, we need a more accountable process that people feel is legitimate and that gives platforms certainty.”
This isn’t the first time that big tech CEOs have had to stand before a committee of inquisitive lawmakers. Earlier this year in July, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon’s CEOs were all present before another six-hour meeting with a House antitrust committee. At the time, it was the first time in big tech history that all four major CEOs were present before lawmakers in such a fashion.
Since then, Google has been hit with an official antitrust lawsuit from the Department of Justice. At the same time, Facebook is currently rumored to soon be on the receiving end of another lawsuit from the Federal Trade Commission, according to some sources.
With so many U.S. regulators moving against these companies, it wouldn’t be surprising if this emboldens other non-U.S. regulators. European agencies have also been investigating Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other similar companies for a while now as well.
While large legal cases like these take time to progress, they could potentially lead to the break up of some of these companies in the future. However, that’s something that would still be quite far off in the distance, maybe 2022 or 2023.
Google Company Profile
Alphabet is a holding company, with Google, the Internet media giant, as a wholly owned subsidiary. Google generates 99% of Alphabet revenue, of which more than 85% is from online ads. Google’s other revenue is from sales of apps and content on Google Play and YouTube, as well as cloud service fees and other licensing revenue. Sales of hardware such as Chromebooks, the Pixel smartphone, and smart homes products, which include Nest and Google Home, also contribute to other revenue. – Warrior Trading News