Notes on Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google Appearing Before the House Antitrust Subcommittee

Wednesday the 29th of July some of the largest technology companies gathered to address questions from the antitrust subcommittee.

This article is focused on notes I jotted down watching the more than five hours long hearing.

House Antitrust Subcommittee on stream preparing for the hearing.
Chairman Cicilline possible tying his shoelaces waiting for the four technology executives.
  • One year — bipartisan work.
  • Amazon market valuation $1 trillion.
  • Apple sells smartphones and services apps.
  • Facebook largest provider of social networking services.
  • $18 billion dollars
  • Google captures 90% of searches online.
  • In the wake of COVI-19 they emerge more powerful than before.
  • Mom & pop stores face a crisis.
  • Business practices has an outsized effect on our economy and democracy.
  • Each platform is a bottle-neck for key channels of distribution. These channels have the incentive to use this, use their platforms to surveil other platform and whether they pose a competitive threat. They use this to cut of rivals. Abuse their controls of technology to cut of powers. Dominant platforms have wielded power.
  • They have to much power, staves of creativity and innovation. Their dominance is killing the small companies and the engines of the American economy.
  • Concentrated economic power also relates to concentrated political power.
Cicilline makes an opening statement.
Online participants assembled
  • Being big is not bad.
  • Interest in what you do with that accumulated power.
  • Control of data — who owns the data — what responsibilities — competitors — fair market value — anything monopolistic in acquiring that data.
  • Many have said your companies have grown too large. I find these informative, but I don’t plan on litigating each of these today. Over a century these laws have made way for innovated companies.
  • Business landscape evolves we must ensure that our existing laws must meet the…
  • Market dominance ripe for abuse when it comes to free speech. Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have become the place where it is censored.
  • Mentions conservative speech.
  • Appreciate that you are calling this meeting today, calling an important dialogue.
  • “Concentration of power in any form, especially concentration of economic or political power, is dangerous to the democratic society.”
  • These principles have guided these into digital markets and lens approaching this.
  • Surge of economic opportunity and education, handful of corporations have captured an outsized share of this. Cloud computing, 100,000 businesses relies, they comprise the essential infrastructure of the 21st century, through controlling this infrastructure they could control. It is not different to what we experienced 130 years ago creating a key chokehold. They can charge tolls, they discriminate amongst farmers picking winners and losers. They can use their dominance in transportation to favour their own services. This spurred despair across the country. Dominated by unregulated monopolies and trust, new technology poses similar power controlling access to similar markets. You are increasingly reliant on powerful intermediaries.
  • Many live in fear of exclusion from these platforms. The subcommittee.
  • Showing anticompetitive conduct, competition issues.
  • Given the dominant role these four companies play in society it makes sense it starts with them. Without hearing directly from the decision-makers from these companies, I look forward to the decision makers.
Mr. Nadler participating online.
  • Thanks Jim
  • Big tech is out to get conservatives, this is a fact.
  • Removing Breitbart — YouTube censoring content.
  • Those who contradict WHO gets censored.
  • Amazon bans Trump on Twitch.
  • Amazon bans book about COVID-19.
  • Silences advertising.
  • Why did they not invite Twitter?
  • May 28th Twitter censors President Trump’s Twitter.
  • July 21st the leader of Iran, Islamic republic of Iran will never forget and strike a reciprocal blow <> why not censor?
  • Most examples from this year, critical for us all to understand.
  • Top executives at Google, silent donation to Clinton campaign.
  • 97 days before an election <> power these companies have.
  • “We all think the free-market is great.” There are consequences, there has to be consequences.
  • Unanimous object-consent (denied).
  • Now introducing Bezoz.
  • Bachelor of Science from Princeton
  • Pichai worked at McKinsey master from Stanford University
  • Tim Cook joined Apple in 1998, Cook was named CEO, expansion into new market. ApplePay.
  • Mark Zuckerberg. Initially launched Facebook to connect college students. Attended Harvard University.
  • Welcome all distinguished witnesses.
  • Remind you that you are the only one invited today from your companies, your sworn testimonies must be your own. Mute your microphone if you need council.
  • Asks them to make pledge of allegiance.
Jeff Bezoz, Mark Zuckerberg, Sundai Pichai and Tim Cook makes pledge of allegiance.
  • First and foremost telling the story of his mom, his father and how Amazon.com was created. Frames himself as an inventor.
  • Amazon had cumulative losses of $3 billion from 1994 to 2001. Fourth quarter of 2001 they had
  • Amazon Web Services. Cloud computing.
  • ‘Day one’ mentality.
  • Because customers are always beautifully, wonderfully dissatisfied, even when they report being happy and business is great. Even when they don’t yet know it, customers want something better, and a constant desire to delight customers drives us to constantly invent on their behalf.
  • Patricia Soto (story)
  • Jeff situates Amazon within the global retail market.
  • Mention Target, Costco, Kroger and Walmart (twice Amazon’s size).
  • Mentions curbside pickup (as a threat)
  • Mentions Shopify and Insta
  • Says ‘inviting third-party sellers into their stores was controversial.
  • Third-party sales now account for 60% physical product sales.
  • Estimate this has ‘created’ over 2.2 million new jobs around the world.
  • Story of Sherri Yukel + Christine Krogue
  • “The trust customers put in us every day has allowed Amazon to create more jobs in the United States over the past decade than any other company — hundreds of thousands of jobs across 42 states.”
  • More than 80% of Amazon shares are owned by outsiders, and over the last 26 years — starting from zero — we’ve created more than $1 trillion of wealth for those outside shareholders.
  • Nearly a million people working at/with Amazon.
  • Opened largest homeless shelter in Washington state — and it’s located inside one of our newest headquarters buildings in downtown Seattle.
  • Diversity ‘pipeline problem’ in tech. → funds computer science (100 four year $40,000 college scholarships).
  • “Let me close by saying that I believe Amazon should be scrutinized. 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 colors.”
  • “We nurture entrepreneurs and start-ups with stable rule of law, the finest university system in the world, the freedom of democracy, and a deeply accepted culture of risk-taking.”
  • “We also face the challenges of climate change and income inequality, and we’re stumbling through the crisis of a global pandemic. Still, the rest of the world would love even the tiniest sip of the elixir we have here in the U.S.”
  • Thanks for the opportunity to appear.
  • “… a discussion about competition is a discussion about opportunity.”
  • This has never been more pressing with challenges to health and economy.
  • Tells of his personal history (growing up in India without a computer — graduate school with computers, lab).
  • Joined Google 16 years ago — helped create Google’s first browser Chrome.
  • So many people experiencing the web through Chrome ‘for free’.
  • Millions of small business owners connecting with customers through Google products.
  • Employs 120,000 Googlers around the world (75,000 in US offices and data centers in 26 states).
  • Search, Gmail, Maps and Photos provide ‘thousands of dollars a year’ in value to the average American.
  • Small businesses
  • Fat Witch Bakery (delicious brownies) — Patricia Helding — Google Ads and Google Analytics. New York.
  • Kettlebell Kings (Austin, Texas).
  • Berry Digital Solutions (Urbana, Ohio).
  • One of the world’s biggest investors in research and development.
  • End of 2019, our R&D spend had increased almost 10 times over 10 years, from $2.8 billion to $26 billion. Over $90 billion over the last 5 years.
  • → Solidifying America’s position as a global leader in emerging technologies (AI, self-driving cars and quantum computing.
  • 21 years ago Google launched Google Search.
  • People search in different ways, click or app away — Alexa. WhatsApp.
  • Competition in ads → ad cost lowered 40% over last 10 years.
  • Resulting in lower prices.
  • Android — ‘a product I worked on for many years’ — reducing device prices.
  • Never sell user information to third parties.
  • “To this day, I haven’t forgoen how access to innovation and technology altered the course of my life. Google aims to build products that increase access to oppounity for everyone — no maer where you live, what you believe, or how much money you earn.”
  • Access to incredible opportunities that ‘technology creates’.
  • Starts by recognising the legacy of Congressman John Lewis.
  • CEO since 2011, proud employee since 1998.
  • We only make things that we recommend to our family and friends.
  • Mentions the iPhone. Mentions that there are competitors.
  • Apple does not have a dominant market share in any market where we do business.
  • Launched AppStore in 2008.
  • App developers never pay for ‘shelf space’.
  • Majority of ‘app store’ developers keep 100% of the money they make.
  • Commission is where the developer acquires a customer on an Apple device.
  • Comparable to or lower than commissions charged by majority of their competitors. Vastly lower than 50–70% software developers paid to distribute their work before we launched the App Store.
  • Began with 500 apps, now 1.7 million (only 60 of which are Apple software). “Clearly, if Apple is a gatekeeper, what we have done is open the gate wider.
  • Apple-commissioned study by economists at the Analysis Group found that in 2019 alone, the App Store facilitated half a trillion dollars in commerce worldwide ($138 billion in the US).
  • Calls this an economic miracle.
  • “I share the Subcommittee’s belief that competition is a great virtue, that it promotes innovation, that it makes space for the next great idea and that it gives consumers more choices.
  • Deepening core principles of privacy and security.
  • 150,000 APIs, applied equally to every developer.
  • 1.9 million jobs in the US.
  • America has lost a real hero.
  • “I’m proud that we stand for American values like giving every person a voice and expanding access to opportunity. As a platform for ideas we’ll always be at the center of important debates about society and technology, which is why I’ve called for new rules for the internet.”
  • Facebook supports its mission by selling ads, and we face competition.
  • Would not have been possible without U.S. laws.
  • “At Facebook, we compete hard, because we’re up against other smart and innovative companies that are determined to win.”
  • Competing as vigorously as we can within the rules.
  • “We believe in values — democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression — that the American economy was built on.”
  • China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.
  • Openness and fairness that have made America’s digital economy a force for empowerment and opportunity here and around the world.
  • “In a competitive economy, innovation leads to improvements that benefit consumers. I understand this is one of the key goals of antitrust law, and it is what Facebook has been focused on since day one.”
  • From text-based website → any kind of digital content.
  • + Oculus and Portal.
  • Invest $10 billion per year in research and development.
  • “We know that if we don’t constantly keep improving, we will fall behind.”
  • Their features have become important for other competitive services (like button).
  • Helped develop PyTorch open-source project.
  • Detectron2.
  • FAISS.
  • SensePose.
  • Facebook Open Source and GitHub.
  • “We also share the results of our hardware research: for example, we developed the world’s most efficient servers and published the plans so everyone could use them as part of our Open Compute Project.”
  • Crisis Response and Safety Check.
  • “We also invest in our communities, and have committed to making over $1 billion in investments in Black and diverse suppliers and communities in the US.”
  • “Instagram and WhatsApp have been able to grow and operate their services using Facebook’s bespoke, lower-cost infrastructure and tackle spam and harmful content with Facebook’s integrity teams and technology.”

(Changed his opening statement from document posted!!!)

  • Mention that the other companies in the hearing are doing better.
  • Mentions TikTok.
  • Made the case that there needs to be new regulation for the Internet.
  • Upholding democratic traditions like voting and freedom of expression.
  • Most businesses asked to stay anonymous. Google traffic went down by 80%. Launch something that Google cannot take away. Why does Google steal content from honest businesses?
  • I disagree with this statement.
  • That is inconsistent with what we heard.
  • Isn’t there a conflict between Google’s business model and giving users what is most relevant.
  • We rely on relevant, a large deal of queries we don’t show ads at all.
  • We only show ads…
  • How much money is that?
  • More than a 100 billion dollars.
  • Fearing competition from websites, proliferating threat to Google. Any traffic loss was a loss in revenue. Certain websites got too much traffic. Were you involved in discussion of threat in vertical search?
  • We see vigorous competition.
  • Stealing other people’s content — content from Yelp
  • Threat to delist Yelp entirely.
  • Isn’t that anticompetitive.
  • Did Google use this to find competitive threats?
  • We are focused on improving our products.
  • 63% that starts on Google ends on Google websites.
  • The evidence seems clear to me that Google used web traffic to find competitive threats and crush them. Ensuring any business must pay Google a tax.
  • Involved in making the net open to everybody.
  • The Internet service providers protections. After hearing mr. Jordan in a long line of censorship of conservative viewpoints I am concerned that the people who manage the web, big part of the web are ending up using this as a political screen. Conservatives are consumers too. Everyone should be free to speak their mind. Exactly what are your standards for censoring speech some people don’t agree with.
  • We want to give everyone a voice, some of it is political. We have distinguished ourselves as the platform that protect free speech the most. We have community standards, banning terrorist propaganda, inciting violence, property violation, hate speech that could lead to dehumanising people.
  • If I could say something specific about Donald Trump junior, people should be able to determine whether hydrocloxine.
  • What you are saying happened on Twitter, we take that sort of thing down.
  • We don’t prohibit discussions on trial of drugs.
  • Some say it is not proven, wouldn’t that be up to somebody else?
  • What someone posted is not really true? Rather than have Twitter or Facebook take it down
  • We don’t want to become the arbitrators of truth. But if someone says it is proven to cure COVID when some of the data says it is harmful that could cause imminent harm.
  • Facebook saw Instagram as a powerful threat,
  • Anticompetitive acquisition that it is designed to prevent.
  • At the time no one thought of them as a social network or competing with us.
  • The acquisition has been wildly successful.
  • It now reaches many more people while also incorporating some technology to make Facebook sharing better.
  • Leading up to the deal — Instagram can meaningfully hurt us, as a threat, as disruptive?
  • Did you mean that consumers might switch from Facebook to Instagram?
  • → repeats the question.
  • In the space of mobile photos….
  • Neutralise the potential competitor.
  • It was a combination of both.
  • What we are buying is time.
  • Mechanics to serve at scale.
  • Those aren’t my words.
  • Instagram competed with others, a subset of connecting.
  • Mergers and acquisitions go against antitrust.
  • Why shouldn’t instagram be broken up into a separate company?
  • With hindsight it seems obvious.
  • It was not a guarantee that Instagram was going to succeed, founders talent, infrastructure, promoting it, security and so on.
  • It has been a success story.
  • You are making my point.
  • This is exactly the kind of anticompetitive competition we are set to prevent.
  • Thanks to Mr. Buck for hosting an important fieldhearing.
  • Capitalism is the greatest instrument — beating back Communism, put a man on the moon, freest most prosperous nation. Four of the biggest power players, you have all enjoyed the freedom to succeed.
  • Big is not necessarily bad.
  • One disturbing issue.
  • Google dropped out of the JEDI contract for more than $10 billion, it did not align with Google corporate values.
  • This is the same army that stands for values around the world.
  • Only months after withdrawing from this contract warned that the Chinese military was directly benefiting from Google’s world. I asked myself what values do Google and China have in common. Could it be that China forces Uighurs to work in sweatshops. I thought about Google’s Dragonfly technology, draconian security laws. Maybe you are aligned with China’s corporate espionage. Chinese military and not American military.
  • Mr. Pichai during our field hearing I heard a story that I thought it must be on
  • Google misappropriated lyrics from a website, Genius expected this corporate theft, spelling redhanded.
Mr Buck with a poster of prisoners being sent to camps in ‘Commmunist China’
  • We have a limited presence in China.
  • We license content from other companies, this is a dispute from Genious and the other company, but we are happy to explain.
  • Mr. Cook with over one million iPhone users and controlling the apps that are marketed you emit power. Apple’s app store.
  • The point is that Apple is the sole decision-maker.
  • If it is a native app, then yes.
  • Rules are made up as you go and subject to change whenever Apple sees fit to change.
  • Otherwise they must leave the App store, the rules change to benefit Apple.
  • Small apps versus large developers.
  • We treat every app developer the same.
  • We look at every app, but those rules apply evenly.
  • Some developers are favoured over others.
  • Baidu has two people assigned?
  • We do a lot to help look over beta-test apps.
  • Apple has negotiated commissions?
  • If they meet the requirements.
  • You collect their customer data.
  • What’s to stop Apple to increasing commission to 50%.
  • There is nothing to stop you?
  • There is a competition for developers.
  • Fierce competition for developers and customers.
  • I would describe it as a street fight.
  • Have you ever retaliated against a developer?
  • You said that you embrace American values?
  • Please say if anyone of you do not.
  • (nobody answered)
  • Thousands of employees when you abandoned that project.
  • Make decisions based on a variety of factors.
  • You did take that into account.
  • They have asked you to stop doing business with American law enforcement.
  • You provide basic services to police, but also services that help.
  • Will you take the pledge that Google will not adopt the bigoted letter suggested.
  • Long history of following the law.
  • Bigoted anti-police?
  • We will comply with law.
  • Limited involvement in China?
  • Yet you have collaboration with Chinese universities.
  • Fei-Fei Li was cited in Chinese state media.
  • ‘When she wakes she will tremble the world’.
  • Your company is directly aiding the Chinese military.
  • Google’s activity in China.
  • You have an AI center
  • We do not work with China
  • Cambridge Analytica
  • What narrative do you plan to address?
  • Since 2016 a lot of steps — 30,000 people to work on security.
  • We are commited to fighting election interference and for free speech.
  • Some of the most advanced in the world.
  • 89% of hate speech is taken down.
  • Millions of fake accounts used to spread hate or disinformation?
  • We take down billions of accounts trying to spam people.
  • Having fake accounts does not help our business.
  • They use our services less when they do.
  • Questions of regulating industry.
  • Google restricted portability of user data in 2018, restricted the double-ID to create profiles.
  • Not sure of the specific case
  • Are you not compliant with GDPR?
  • Yes, just said the specific case was unknown.
  • We are balancing between users, advertisers and so on.
  • Comply with laws in every country we operate in.
  • We are focused on our users trying to do the best we can.
  • We are not squeezing out competition when we regulate this.
  • When we regulate big companies we hurt small companies more.
  • Google’s digital ad market share has increased since GDPR.
  • Advertising revenue has fallen.
  • Robust competition in the market place.
  • We have to comply with regulation.
  • Geo-fence warrants — compel companies to give warrants.
  • 1500% increase
  • 500% increase
  • Geo-warrants — location information should be
  • Transparency reports.
  • Congress to act and willing to work too.
  • Unanimous consent request.
  • Bezoz did Amazon access third-party seller data?
  • Thank you for representing us.
  • Yes.
  • Your company does access data by reviewing and tiny product categories
  • Access detailed seller information.
  • We have not gotten into the bottom of it.
  • You say don’t help yourself to the data, but it is a candy shop.
  • Do category managers have access to third-party data?
  • There is a voluntary policy
  • There is no enforcement?
  • I don’t think others have this policy.
  • Credible reporting of document breaches of these rules
  • These breaches typical occur.
  • Rules allow you to access data.
  • Aggregate data is allowed.
  • Amazon launched its own competing product after a certain time.
  • You have access to data that far exceeds the sellers.
  • You can set the rules of the sellers, but not follow those rules yourself.
  • I like this question.
  • I like what we have done for our third party sellers.
  • Big enough to compete with you.
  • That there are more Amazons and Apple, that what we are trying to get at, so that no platform has a platform that is basically a monopoly.
  • Factual incident. Gateway Pundit.com

(A far-right conservative website)

  • Was there anything done to silence conservative website?
  • We believe in freedom of expression.
  • I will have to look into it. There could be a number of reasons.
  • I will engage with your office.
  • I have been elected for ten years.
  • Not any problem with my campaign emails being reported as spam.
  • Supporters aren’t getting my email.
  • Suddenly they are going to spam and junk mails.
  • We have a tab organisation on emails.
  • It was my father who tried to send me this email.
  • We apply it neutrally.
  • What assurances can you give me that your employees bias do not affect the spam algorithm.
  • We approach it in a neutral way.
  • I have heard about that myself.
  • Google purchased and proposed the merger of Double-Click.
  • Connect personal identity with search patterns.
  • Google said it would not be able to merge this data even if it wanted to.
  • June 2016 it went ahead and moved ahead anyway.
  • Mister Pichai, you became CEO in 2015.
  • This change was made in 2016.
  • That’s correct (to CEO question)
  • So you signed of on it?
  • (acceptance)
  • Reduction in user privacy users
  • Larry and Sergey <> privacy storm and damage
  • Google had to care in 2007, they did not have to care in 2016.
  • We make it easy for users to control their data.
  • We have combined all that data to go to a privacy checkup.
  • Google’s bait and switch, users.
  • 80% of its revenue through ad placement.
  • Yes.
  • Google sells behavioural ads
  • So the more user data does not mean more money?
  • It is to help users.
  • I yield back.
  • Is Google going to support Joe Biden
  • No.
  • Will you change your feature?
  • Silent donation to Clinton campaign
  • We did not find any evidence.
  • We clearly communicated to our employees any political activity was on their own time.
  • Here is what she wrote on the emails.
  • Selected Latino communities.
  • I want to make sure this isn’t going to happen.
  • Any work we do is non-partisan.
  • Please give us a promise that you will not help Joe Biden.
  • You are not going to silence conservatives.
  • You have my commitment.

(mr. Jordan is trying to take time from Ms.Scanlon)

  • Diapers.com.
  • Online competitors for diapers.
  • Keep the pressure for diapers on us (Amazon).
  • Harder to keep pressure up.
  • Hatched a plot to go after diapers.com
  • One of your top executives proposed a plan to win against diapers.com.
  • P&L statements — willing to bleed $200 million to undermine diapers.com
  • (trying to answer)

21.23 — Ms. Scanlon

  • It was struggling (diapers.com).
  • Then it (Amazon)bought diapers.com.
  • Then increased prizes of diapers for moms and dads.
  • I don’t know.
  • (tries to stall for time)
  • How were parents affected by how you?
  • Diapers is a big category.
  • “Pursue competitors the way a cheetah would chase a sickly gazelle.”
  • Did you say this?
  • I do not remember this.
  • COVID-19.
  • Food drives one of the biggest need is diapers.
  • Pricing might have been driven up by this tactic.
  • When you launched Facebook you had competitors? (lists competitors)
  • Yes.
  • By 2012 none of the previous competitors existed.
  • You don’t face competitors I take it you disagree.
  • You have multiple apps.
  • Subcommitees findings.
  • Boasting that Facebook is now 95% (Sheryl Sandberg presentation to investors/stakeholders)
  • The industry consolidates as it matures
  • I describe as monopoly and you describe as market power, would that be a fair statement?
  • The spaces of people connecting with people is a very large place.
  • It is all in the service of building a better service.
  • Landgrab described by an investor — to shore up competitors.
  • Instagram is now the 6th largest platform.
  • I am not sure.
  • I have the empirical data here.
  • WhatsApp is now the second largest in the world
  • More than Facebook Messenger.
  • You tried to buy others — likely buy any competitive startup, but there will be a while until we can buy Google.
  • I think it was a joke.
  • Given the attempted purchases and overtures to SnapChat.
  • It strikes me that over the course of several years Facebook has used that power. Most downloaded app of the decades.
  • We have a name for that, and that is monopoly.
  • I yield my time.
  • Small business owner.
  • (Calling in with a small business owner.)
  • Amazon started restricting us from selling.
  • Amazon systematically blocked us
  • We haven’t sold a book, no reason as to why we were being restricted, no warning, no plan.
  • Delisting this small business.
  • They sent more than 500 separate communications including to you, and not a single meaningful response.
  • Is this a respectful way?
  • We would love for third party sellers.
  • I think you are missing the point.
  • Are you going to make sure that the numerous sellers that have problems, and sellers that have exhausted all of their options. What do you have to say to these small businesses.
  • I would say that is not acceptable.
  • Evidence is that third-party sellers in aggregate are doing well.
  • You said that third-party sellers have other options, but Amazon has almost seven times the market share of their closest market competitor.
  • They have nowhere else to go.
  • Are they not being truthful.
  • I did not see all.
  • A relationship characterised by bullying, fear and power.
  • I do not accept the characterisation…
  • I will give the bookseller the chance to be heard.
  • We grew our business five times, we followed all our rules.
  • We beg you there are 14 lives at stake please help us get back on track.
  • I now allow my time
  • (makes similar point)
  • 800,000 relies on Amazon.
  • Don’t they (Amazon) refer to third-party sellers as their own internal competitors.
  • Yes.
  • “We are stuck.” “We have to work with them.”
  • Small businesses building a business only to have Amazon poach their best selling items.
  • One that stuck.
  • Useful apparel. Construction and fire fighters — unique item.
  • $60,000 a year, Amazon listing the same items — blow at the manufacturers. Even if they wanted to. This is how they describe it: “Amazon strings you along, we called it Amazon heroin, but at the end of the day making you feel good was going to be your downfall.”
  • This is one of your ‘partners’ why would they compare your partnership as a drug dealer.
  • We invited people in because we thought it would be better for consumers.
  • (Tries to stall for time)
  • I reclaim my time.
  • This is only one of the cases.
  • How is it possible when you compete with your own products.
  • Producing products that compete with third party sellers when you set the rules of the game.
  • I don’t think it is. The consumer is making the decision.
  • That is not the question.
  • Is it a conflict of interest?
  • You said you couldn’t be certain.
  • Those policies cannot be guaranteed.
  • Why should a third-party seller list their product when it is data you take from them.
  • We have a policy against using individual data.
  • You couldn’t assure Ms Jaypal that isn’t being abused routinely.
  • The evidence we have collected shows that Amazon’s dual role is fundamentally anticompetitive and we must take action.
  • We do not have to change our antitrust law, but just how it is enforced.
  • Obama’s FTC signed off on that. Regardless of what you think this acquisition passed the smelltest of the regulators involved, maybe they made a mistake.
  • It is not a problem with the law.
  • AT&T was broken up, one stop shops were monopolistic, you had to get a long-distance service, so the baby bells were spun off.
  • Technology advanced and we are back to where we were in 1984, this shows we are back to where we are.
  • Mr. Bezoz, say AT&T example were required to spin stuff off. You have to go to separate places for books, how are the consumers helped by that?
  • They are not helped by that.
  • Can you described it Pichai?
  • They wouldn’t be helped.
  • It is not for the congress that legislates to throw out a 100 plus years, but we ought to go back and let them look at this stuff. I think the law is good like that. We don’t need to throw it all in the waste basked. Agency like the FTC that they made mistakes in the past. Even government agencies do that.
  • It is better to do more and move faster, Zuckerberg said this.
  • Make it more nimble
  • Have you been copying competitors.
  • Do you copy your competitors?
  • We have adapted features, like others.
  • How many competitors did Facebook end up copying?
  • Your team was making a plan,
  • Was it five, 50?
  • No.
  • Did you threaten to copy others while acquiring them?
  • I remind you that you are under oath.
  • Explains a lot (but says yes).
  • Did you threaten Kevin?
  • You told him that we are developing, whether we were going to…
  • He feared you would go into ‘destroy-mode’
  • Told them if you didn’t let him buy it up it would be copied.
  • Did you use this tactic another time?
  • I don’t agree with this.
  • I am just using the documents.
  • Did you use the same tactic with Snapchat?
  • People want to connect privately.
  • When the dominant platform threatens others, spy on competitors.
  • Use to copy, acquire and kill competitors.
  • These tactics reinforce — this models makes it impossible for other companies to work, it harms democracy.
  • Mr. Chairman I yield back.
  • Meeting with startups to hear about startups, and then copy these.
  • Counterfeit products to pop up // failed to ‘remedy’
  • $2 million marketing deal with Amazon.
  • Proprietary data to market its own.
  • Venture capital to gain access to secret proprietary product information, and that information used with disastrous results.
  • Amazon contacted Vocalife with a speech detection technology, company’s big break.
  • Microphone technology and engineering data the relationship came to an abrupt halt.
  • This technology found its way into the Echo device.
  • Counterfeit goods from China furthering China’s use of enslaved labour conditions. At least 80 global companies have ties to Chinese factories using enslaved Uighur muslims. Requiring companies to certify…
  • Mr. Cook I think we briefly discussed this issue.
  • Would you agree to this idea.
  • Forced labour is not tolerated.
  • I find it abhorrent as well.
  • Will you agree that slave labour is not tolerated?
  • Mr. Bezoz?
  • Yes we agree.
  • In the 19th century we had the robber barons and in the 20th century we have the cyber barons. I am interested in the role you play as a gatekeeper. When will HBO be available on your app. Your company is asking for content. Is it fair to use your gatekeeper to promote your role as a competitor in the platform.
  • Two large companies negotiating agreements.
  • They stand in for 100,000 of small companies.
  • Not only engaging for financial terms as part of a unit, but also try to extract in that negotiation leverage in respect to negotiating content with them.
  • You are exchanging money, but also content.
  • That would be seen as an organised conflict of interest.
  • Are you converting power from one domain into another where it doesn’t belong.
  • I would imagine for there to be situations where it is appropriate or inappropriate.
  • Do you market the Amazon Echo device below-cost?
  • Yes, when it is for sale.
  • Would you say the smart home is a winner-takes-all market?
  • SmartHome speakers would answer to different wake words.
  • You said you are buying market position (in an email)
  • Market position is valuable in any company.
  • Number of reasons, commons reason to acquire a company.
  • When I asked Alexa then Prime music is my default music.
  • Would you like to buy → Amazon… Is it trained for that?
  • It wouldn’t surprise me if it provides our own products.
  • You say Google does not work with the Chinese military.
  • Jeff Dean served on Tsinghua University
  • If you are showing up on the same place…
  • I wanted to talk about search.
  • In a response about search, we don’t manually intervene on any search results.
  • The dailycollar — altered before the testimony, a deceptive news blacklist, approved by ‘Ben Gauls’, ‘Fringe ranking’, you said there is no ‘manual intervention’ on search.
  • (The Daily Caller is a right-wing news and opinion website based in Washington, D.C. It was founded by now Fox News host Tucker Carlson and political pundit Neil Patel in 2010)
  • Athena? Manual review tool?
  • We test it with user feedback, 300,000 experiments.
  • We don’t manually tune, there is not someone behind tuning individual search results, in order to apply with the law. It could be a website interfering in elections so it doesn’t appear in search → violent extremism ← complying.
  • Is there a manual or not manual component?
  • Whistleblowers you have — to stop election interference. It is my view that you are stopping election interference. Blacklist targets support President trump.
  • You are using your market dominance in search.
  • I strongly disagree with this characterisation.
  • Comply with law, copyright characterisation.
  • I yield my time.
  • Newspaper industry in free fall.
  • Google and Facebook capture digital ad revenue.
  • Publishers have told us that they do this through conduct.
  • 2015 — viewership — news publishers boosting video divisions.
  • Facebook had inflated these metrics.
  • Did you realise the harm this caused?
  • We put this in place.
  • What do you say about these journalists?
  • Google collects userdata.
  • We use that data to improve it. Simplified settings to choose.
  • You do use that data?
  • Use of that data may benefit you, does it affect news?
  • We use data for our services.
  • Google and Facebook are making money of news they are letting the American people see. This is a dangerous situation.
  • I yield back.
  • Doctors discussing hydrochlor…. Drug they think it is effective when all these are posted.
  • During pandemic we look to local authorities — CDC, medical misinformation that could cause harm. If there is an aspect that explicitly states it.
  • It is free expression of doctors.
  • I will switch to Zuckerberg. Stifling news and opinions.
  • We hire a lot of people to work on security 35,000 people.
  • We try to do it neutral to all viewpoints and all ideas.
  • Giving people a voice, expressing a wide variety of things is valuable to the world.
  • Is there an ideological variation?
  • We don’t want to hire on the basis of ideology.
  • Valuable to have people with different viewpoints involved.
  • What are those groups?
  • Do you reach out to any outside groups?
  • We speak with people across the political spectrum.
  • Can you tell me how many fact-checkers you have?
  • We work with 75 fact checking institutions around the world.
  • The pointer institute, independent fact-checking organisation.
  • Amazon has a significant problem with counterfeit products.
  • Medicine, babyfood, tires, can kill.
  • Amazon says it is fixing this, but it acts it is not responsible.
  • Police Amazon site, it makes money when they make it.
  • Why is not Amazon more aggressive, and more responsible for keeping counterfeit products from its platform.
  • Counterfeits are a scourge, bad for customers, third-party sellers.
  • Team of 1,000 people, project zero, serialise.
  • Glad you have those, but why are you not responsible for all?
  • We have heard that Amazon has used knockoffs to make sellers do what they want.
  • $2 million dollar on advertisements.
  • That is unacceptable.
  • I will look into that.
  • What I can tell you is that we have a character crime unit.
  • I would recommend you (government) to increase spending on law enforcement.
  • Making people pay not to disappear in rankings.
  • A company selling on your platform gets buried in your rankings.
  • Companies paying extra gets pushed up.
  • We offer an advertising platform to get pushed up, some use it and some don’t.
  • Earlier my colleague brought up third party seller information
  • Drill down a little more, where does Amazon draw the line?
  • Aggregate data means more than one seller.
  • Does Amazon use third-party data aggregate on three sellers.
  • Yes.
  • Take-down requests on Twitch.
  • Stream music and not takedown?
  • Not aware of it.
  • Will get back to your office.
  • Third part cookies, will put other at a disadvantage into not tracking users.
  • I am not pro (for) cookies.
  • I want to focus on the competition aspect.
  • Does Google have alternate means of collecting user data.
  • Most browser vendors are implementing changes.
  • Giving industry notice to adapt.
  • You have other ways of collecting it?
  • We don’t use it for ads, but we do have data.
  • In any model I am assuming we are enforcing our policies stronger against competitors.
  • Why would it do that more strongly.
  • This was in 2012.
  • Larger competitors were stopped from growing and compete with us.
  • Message me as a fast growing app on Facebook.
  • I do not remember that.
  • Pinterest access to Facebook, but not Netflix?
  • I was not aware of that.
  • These example does suggest that Facebook weaponises their policies.
  • Mr. Cook I am similarly concerned.
  • The use of device placed kids data at risk.
  • We were worried about the safety of kids.
  • Two types of apps using the same tool.
  • Apple picked one app, and kept one of a powerful government.
  • Keep one owned by a powerful government.
  • It sounds like you apply different rules to the same apps.
  • We apply all rules similarly.
  • Did the fact that you had your own product influence this.
  • This is not an area for revenue.
  • That was not my question.
  • I yield my time.

→ Mr. Jordan → Yield my time to mr. Gates

  • Familiar with Zack and Gilroy that the culture that disadvantages conservatives.
  • We aim to be a platform for all ideas.
  • I do not want it to be run with ideological bias.
  • When people raise concerns we do look into that.
  • Upholding the standards that we would like.
  • If that was the case it would be unacceptable.
  • What did you do to root this out.
  • Being a platform for all ideas.
  • Training I can appreciate.
  • Videos come out of people that they disadvantage conservatives.
  • Limit the reach of that content. After that was all over the news.
  • Seems to suggest you don’t take this seriously.
  • You don’t seem to have investigated.
  • Your employees have the power to disadvantage conservative viewpoints.
  • My testimony in the past — when you have 10,000 employees people make mistake, we have to minimise errors and that they reflect principles.
  • When you fire people because of their politics, will it encourage people to treat people.
  • We have not fired anyone because of their politics and that would be an inappropriate thing to do.
  • He is only allowed to talk to a public official.
  • I am a public official.
  • Serious question if you are giving truthful testimony.
  • I yield back.
  • Purchase of YouTube in 2006 bought — $1.65 billion.
  • Why was Google willing to pay it so much more.
  • We acquired it in 2006.
  • I wasn’t involved.
  • New emerging area.
  • Mission is to help users with information.
  • Was Page involved with this acquisition?
  • Ok… You don’t know.
  • Did YouTube target children with ads.
  • I am a parent too.
  • We have YouTube Kids.
  • We have flagged and removed a million videos for concerns of child safety.
  • I am more concerned that you are luring in advertisers to bring them onboard to market to kids.
  • We have no under 13 to create accounts.
  • They are associated with ‘families’.
  • Content creators are in a difficult decision.
  • If Sesame Streets does not want to show ads for fast food do you allow it?
  • They can use YouTube for ads or YouTube without ads.
  • Increasingly small and medium business use YouTube.
  • We have a recent report that says YouTube has not been honoring those reports.
  • I do not know of the specific case.
  • Retail you are referring to a broad definition of retail.
  • I wonder if you know what percentage of Amazon sales are represented in online sales.
  • I don’t accept ecommerce is a different market
  • 30–40% is what I have seen.
  • Factually it is an important distinction that we clear here.
  • Early startup we have heard from startups that have concerns with confidential information.
  • Amazon’s cloud computing arms identifies code. Does it use to start competing services.
  • Not that I am aware of.
  • There have been these kind of strategies.
  • Can you comment on this?
  • We have companies that use AWS we use that to make them successful.
  • A pattern emerges. With Alexa fund investing in…
  • Wall Street Journal, access to startups confidential…
  • Artificial intelligence does almost exactly what that company does.
  • I don’t know the specific information, but would get back to your office about that.
  • Nucleus, we are very concerned with this innovation kill zone.
  • I represent two technology hubs during a field hearing earlier this year.
  • They are dependent on big technology firms, but constant fear that platforms could steal their technologies.
  • With that I yield back.
  • Exclude apps from the App Store?
  • Fierce competition and 1.7 million.
  • You can, you introduced ScreenTime.
  • You removed competing apps.
  • Reducing consumer access to much needed services.
  • Why did Apple competing apps after releasing Screen Time.
  • We were concerned with MDM — we were worried about their safety.
  • Promoting it to people who removed the parental removal app.
  • There are several actors now.
  • You admitted them back 6 months later.
  • This is not the first time something like this has happened.
  • In 2010 Apple introduced iBook store, only major publisher was RandomHouse. Wanted to offer its own eBooks. Continued, senior VP said: preventing the app from RandomHouse going live, decided app rejection, then finally making them give in.
  • Is it fair to use their power for the pleasure of business.
  • There are many reasons for an app to go through.
  • We had 1.7 million apps, an economic miracle.
  • Even some of the largest companies fear your power.
  • Our evidence suggest that you have used that power, and stifling innovation that is the lifeblood of our economy. Reducing choices for the economy.
  • Not just harmful to our economic, but the founding principle of our democracy. Disinformation, propaganda is good for business. The most stringest protection would not protect our. Is there limits to harmful and free speech for the health and safety of the public.
  • Our policies goes further.
  • You have a responsibility to remove harmful content.
  • You do have an incentive, because you make money on advertising.
  • These are the most shared article (lists harmful articles).
  • We have been quite aggressive to take this information down.
  • Zuckerberg is profiting from information that harms others.
  • What are you doing right now to protect people from false claims.
  • I have to disagree with your assertion.
  • We rank it for what is going to be the most meaningful and create satisfaction.
  • If that is true how do you explain that the second most powerful was a Breittbart video that you don’t need to wear a mask and you need to… After 20 million people saw it.
  • Doesn’t that prove that you cannot prevent deadly content.
  • We have built an information centre.
  • A business decision, not a first amendment decision.
  • We have modelled our political guidelines on…
  • You get away with it, no competition forcing you to police your own platform.
  • Breittbart — lamented Trump’s victory. An attempt to make the Trump win a blip in the populist movement in American democracy.
  • Given the video evidence of senior members of your team in your President.
  • We respect the democratic process, free elections and deeply committed to it.
  • Do you remember the meeting?
  • There was a lot of rhetoric about this.
  • We have seen all these conservatives news sites censored.
  • Intending to make the Trump victory a blip, what actions did you take?
  • No one had a view. We announced new community guidelines, free to have their political views, but should not bring that when they work on products.
  • You said people can manipulate blacklists.
  • I am deeply moved by your personal story and not traffic in hate.
  • You have empowered people who do.
  • Southern poverty law center have a list.
  • The American Family Association.
  • The Jewish Defence League.
  • Dr. Ben Carson, on the cabinet, one of the most renowned minds in America.
  • Take mainstream Christian doctrine and label it as hate.
  • Select from millions of poverty. We use Southern poverty law center.
  • Better additional sources.
  • I yield back.
  • Insight with Facebooks websites? Through APIs.
  • We do it for market research.
  • Building a custom model, improve its understanding of whether they are friends or foes.
  • One of the people involved in analytics organisation.
  • Purchased the web analytics company after that in 2013.
  • That would give you the capacity to monitor your competitor, correct?
  • Public real-time data on how much people spent on apps.
  • When you used Onavo you got kicked out?
  • It was not framed that wave.
  • You turned to other tools like the Facebook research app.
  • Isn’t it true that you paid teenagers to install the Facebook research app.
  • Facebook reserach app got thrown out too.
  • I am not aware of that.
  • You got caught and you tried it over again, isn’t that true?
  • I don’t agree with that characterisation.
  • Did you use those capabilities to purchase Instagram?
  • Yes or no answer, do you believe Chinese technology firms steal from the US?
  • I know of no case of ours, of first hand knowledge.
  • I have no first-hand knowledge of any information stolen from the US.
  • It is well-documented that Chinese companies steal technologies.
  • Is the Chinese technology steal I have read reports of, but have no personal knowledge of.
  • Do you have any recommendations on how US can protect US firms here or abroad?
  • None of you have any recommendations.
  • I yield my time to mr.gates.
  • What is a digital land-grab. You need to engage in a landgrab, but I think that is the best convincing argument 5–10% market cap to shore up competition.
  • It seems to be internal and external. In your personal statement here.
  • Congressman in order to serve people better and help people connect we built use cases and acquired others. It has been a successful strategy in serving people well.
  • Mr. Cook we have heard from businesses that it is canvassing their AppStore. Apple is looking for its cut. You are demanding your 30%, isn’t that profiteering?
  • We would never take advantage of that. Moved to a digital services. Both of the services. To zoom out we entered the AppStore market with 50–70% we cut it in half or lowered it. 2 million jobs in America. 80% of the apps are distributed for free. Only part is…
  • Are these online learning tools on your list to monetise?
  • We are serving that market in a significant way.
  • We have done a lot to address COVID-19.
  • Sourced and…
  • You are now trying to force apps to make money. He seems to have been right. He didn’t interpret your rules that way. Would you say.
  • A version of your product is free. 15% is from programming languages to compilers, to API’s.
  • An economic miracle to allow a person in their basement to serve 135 countries in the world. Likely the highest job creator in the last decade.
  • So you haven’t changed any rules?
  • We have so many apps coming in each week so we may have made mistakes.
  • Ad buys, my understanding is that third parties would develop profiles based on this.
  • You allow users to provide consent. It seems this policy regardless of the privacy concerns reduce demand-side…
  • TrueView ads, skippable ads.
  • Monetising YouTube well is what allows 100,000 of creators to make a living.
  • Allowing this type of integration. Stopping third party ads and analytics.
  • Ads on datahubs. Other ad markets
  • It’s a service we provide to our users.
  • We have been focused on making it a great platform for creators.
  • Helping to grow businesses.
  • Smaller competitors unable to place ads on YouTube.
  • Several competitors emerging
  • We are trying to use privacy as a shield, but you use it as a cudgel to crub the competition.
  • With that I yield the remainder of my time to Mr. Gates.
  • Do you think Ben Carson is an extremist?
  • Richard Hoeffstader — victimology of some of our colleagues.
  • Any days of the days, right-wing sites, Ben Shapiro, Fox News, Blue Lives Matter.
  • If Facebook is out to stop conservative speech, I don’t get the endless whining. The removal of their tweet was about them spreading disinformation. That was an absolute public health measure that all of them would endorse. They essentialise destroy their own case with their case going after you.
  • If you are as opposed to electioneering, citizens united is what gave corporations power to go out and spend money. The idea that electioneering is inconsistent with the history and the facts. I want to go with mister Cook. Is any of you company that have thought of becoming a benefit corporation? No. Ok.
  • When is it 15 and when is it 30 percent?
  • If it is a subscription product then it is 30% the first year and 15% every year thereafter.
  • A person who I know says I pay 20% to Uncle Sam and 30% to Apple.
  • Is it unjust?
  • People make money (more people)
  • You spend time, will you have time to meet with civil rights group to talk about holocaust revisionism on Facebook.
  • We agree on many issues around fighting hate. Improving the way our company works.
  • Mr. Cook is the cancel culture mob dangerous?
  • It’s good to hear different views.
  • “Everyone lives in the fear of the digital thunderdome.”
  • Their target is the mob.
  • Cancel culture.
  • We give place to diverse voices.
  • How about you Zuckerberg?
  • I think it is important to make progress on a number of issues.
  • I am concerned by that, social media is a nuanced destruction machine, and I don’t think that is good for democracy.
  • Like it was the Soviet Union. Our unification of thoughts is any — do you remember that ad?
  • Yes, Apple vs. IBM
  • Someone wants to support the police. Why don’t we just let the first amendment work. If you were out there criticising what the cancel culture mob is doing.
  • Protecting independent journalism.
  • Over 2 million websites use that exchange?
  • Yes.
  • What is Google share of the ad exchange market.
  • Google has 50–60% of digital advertising.
  • In order to buy and sell on these exchanges.
  • I just want to simplify how these exchanges work.
  • These electronics should go to a middle man. Google controls all of these entities.
  • It is acting on the by side and on the same side, set rates low depriving them of their ad revenue, it sounds like a stock market, but there is no regulation on the ad market. It would hinder insider trading. The broker cannot buy and sell for their own interest. Do they have a…
  • We pay 69% of our revenue, it is a low revenue space for us.
  • This ad exchange is the same thing, it is not meaningful to care about newspaper.
  • Google’s ad revenue is increasingly coming from ads on your site and not other websites.
  • I cannot see whether this is gross or net.

00.11 — Ms. Jayapal

  • Google has not made its search volume public in years.
  • Is Google steering Google advertising revenue to Google Search it is that traffic, that source of revenue. We are focused on providing information.
  • Thank you mr. Pichai.
  • One last question from Mr. Zuckerberg. #StopHateforProfit you told employees you are not changing our policies. They will be back on your platform soon enough 1100 advertisers.
  • We have cared about issues, we cannot set it after advertisers. 89% of hate speech is removed even before anyone report it to us. Small businesses…
  • I know you commissioned your own civil rights audit.
  • Question of information in relation to China, we had a well publicised cyber attack.
  • Delaying shipment of non-essential products. In practice it appears this policy was applied selectively, designating its own products as essential. Household staples, medical supplies, and so on. Essential. Amazon continued to ship non-essential items. FireTV, Ring doorbell recognised as essential.
  • I can’t tell you that.
  • We moved quickly.
  • Profit-factor in giving essential distinction classification.
  • No.
  • We were not focused on profitability.
  • Five years ago 19% this year average of 30%.
  • Does it not suggest that Amazon enjoys market power over those sellers.
  • Because we enabled bulk buy from Amazon.com
  • More concerning is the 11% hike.
  • Seller fees subsiding Amazon’s retail division.
  • They are buying more of our services.
  • Fulfilment by Amazon — whether this was a factor of getting the ‘buy’ box.
  • Forcing them to pay for fulfilment services.
  • Is the algorithm affecting it.
  • Favours products that can be shipped with Prime.
  • Trying to predict the offer that products would more like.
  • Johnson — I do recall we used an app for research, discontinued.
  • App store review guidelines tell them not to submit copycat apps.
  • We were receiving a lot of similar apps.
  • Yet the clause gives Apple an opportunity to copy apps.
  • Agreement explicitly says.
  • I am not familiar with that.
  • Access to confidential information.
  • Understand why we would have concerns.
  • We respect innovation and would not steal anyone else’s ideas.
  • Consistent with some ideas.
  • Mr Pichai an article yesterday from The Verge.
  • Google Android gives information to developm competitors.
  • Not say anything about whether it is used to develop competing apps.
  • We have an API available for users to give system metrics.
  • High level of this data available to a public API as long as users give consent to it.
  • How long they are opened and how long it is used.
  • Do you have access to this data?
  • Yes, this is how we improve research.
  • Do you develop competing apps?
  • If the answer is no, will you change your policies?
  • We will continue to say with clairty.
  • Does Google use it to develop competing apps?
  • I want to be accurate in my answer.
  • In general we use that data to improve our service.
  • Can you all commit to increasing gender equality and equity.
  • Facebook had a privacy policy of 915 words.
  • We do not and will not user cookies to pull private information.
  • That was 2004.
  • Does your company use cookies?
  • No.
  • Would your company have been as successful?
  • Do you use cookies. Yes or no?
  • Yes.
  • Sale of stolen goods on Amazon?
  • Do you require a name and address.
  • Yes we do.
  • Do you require phone number?
  • Yes.
  • Track large scale offenders?
  • A blanket answer yes or no?
  • Thanks everyone.
  • Opportunity to hear from decision-makers in the most powerful companies in the world.
  • These companies have monopoly powers.
  • Before it was Rockefeller and Carnegie.
  • The names have changed, yet the story is the same.
  • This must end.
  • The subcommittee will propose solutions.
  • We must make our choice. We may have democracy or wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.
  • This meeting is adjourned.

This is #500daysofAI and you are reading article 421. I am writing one new article about or related to artificial intelligence every day for 500 days.

AI Policy and Ethics at www.nora.ai. Student at University of Copenhagen MSc in Social Data Science. All views are my own. twitter.com/AlexMoltzau

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