July 30, 2020, 06.18 PM

WASHINGTON, KOMPAS.com – Big Tech executives including Google’s Sundar Pichai virtually faced US lawmakers Wednesday at a high-stakes antitrust hearing.

The hearing could lay the foundation for tougher regulation of today’s biggest internet platforms.

Sundar Pichai was joined by Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg for an unprecedented joint appearance.

The four Big Tech executives were grilled for more than five hours by US lawmakers. They faced a House of Representatives panel that is actively investigating market dominance.

While the hearing was called to focus on whether the companies abuse their dominant positions in the market, it veered quickly into topics including political bias, privacy, dealings with China and how platforms deal with misinformation.

"Simply put, they have too much power," said Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat from Rhode Island who chairs the panel conducting a year-long investigation into the business practices of the four companies.

David Cicilline said the hearing made clear that the firms "have monopoly power -- some need to be broken up, all need to be properly regulated and held accountable."

Congress has no formal role in antitrust enforcement, but several lawmakers appeared intent on revising US laws to deal with the extraordinary market power and dominance of large technology firms.

"The anti-trust storm clouds appear to be building in the Beltway against Big Tech," Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said in a note to investors.

"With today's hearings setting the stage for a battle royale over the next 6 to 9 months."

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