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Big tech executives headed to Capitol Hill for antitrust hearing next week

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By Reuters
Big tech executives headed to Capitol Hill for antitrust hearing next week
FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combination photo from Reuters files.   -   Copyright  REUTERS FILE PHOTO(Reuters)
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Executives from Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and Alphabet’s Google will testify before a House congressional committee next week in a hearing to discuss the tremendous market power wielded by online platforms.

In a statement on Tuesday, the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee said witnesses would include Adam Cohen, director of economic policy at Google; Nate Sutton, associate general counsel for regulation at Amazon; Facebook’s Matt Perault, head of global policy development and Apple vice president for corporate law Kyle Andeer.

The hearing will be held July 16, the advisory said.

Apple and Google did not respond to a request for comment. Amazon spokeswoman Jodi Seth said they will testify but did not share details. Facebook had no immediate comment.

This comes as the House Judiciary Committee is probing competition in digital markets as part of an investigation announced last month, with both Republicans and Democrats expressing concern about the power exercised by several of the world’s most valuable companies.

The executive branch has antitrust probes underway with the Justice Department looking at Google and Apple while the FTC probes Facebook and Amazon.

The hearing also comes at a time when both Republicans and Democrats have expressed exasperation with the big tech giants, but for different reasons.

Conservatives have complained that social media companies try to diminish their voices online while progressives like presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren have called for Amazon, Google and Facebook to sell companies that they purchased previously as a way to address competition concerns.

Furthermore, Facebook is expected to pay a $5 billion (£4 billion) penalty for its work with a consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica, which obtained data from millions of Facebook users without their permission. Cambridge was hired by President Donald Trump for his 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Diane Craft)

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