Four of the biggest names in tech will give evidence to members of the US Congress.
Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Sundar Pichai (Google), Tim Cook (Apple) and Jeff Bezos (Amazon) will all be grilled.
Jeff Bezos – the world’s richest man – has never testified before either house. The four have never been quizzes together.
How these tech bosses do, how they stand up to scrutiny, could be a defining moment in their future relationship with government. Central to the interrogation will be whether these tech giants are simply too big.
The Covid-19 pandemic has put this into sharp focus. Where other companies have struggled, Big Tech companies have thrived. Together they are now worth $5tn dollars. It has led to accusations that – just like the banks – they are simply too big to fail.
The number of complaints levelled at these companies are so numerous that they are too many to name individually.
In pre-released comment Zuckerberg argued that Facebook had become successful “the American way” – providing products that people find valuable after starting with nothing.
“Our story would not have been possible without US laws that encourage competition and innovation,” said Zuckerberg.
Bezos also posted his statement to Congress saying:
“At Amazon, customer obsession has made us what we are, and allowed us to do ever greater things,” he said.
“I know what Amazon could do when we were 10 people. I know what we could do when we were 1,000 people, and when we were 10,000 people. And I know what we can do today when we’re nearly a million.”
“I believe Amazon should be scrutinized,” he added. “We should scrutinize all large institutions, whether they’re companies, government agencies, or non-profits. Our responsibility is to make sure we pass such scrutiny with flying colours.”