Top House Dem accuses tech giants of giving deceptive answers at antitrust hearing

Top House Dem accuses tech giants of giving deceptive answers at antitrust hearing
© Greg Nash

The House Democrat leading a congressional antitrust investigation into big tech companies has accused Facebook, Amazon and Google of giving deceptive answers to lawmakers at a hearing last week on their market power.

Rep. David CicillineDavid Nicola CicillineTrump: Fox News 'panders' to Democrats by having on liberal guests Democrats express confidence in case as impeachment speeds forward Sunday shows — Nadler: A jury would convict Trump in 'three minutes flat' MORE (D-R.I.), who chairs the House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust, sent letters to the three companies on Tuesday demanding that they offer more complete testimony.

“I was deeply troubled by the evasive, incomplete, or misleading answers received to basic questions directed to these companies by Members of the Subcommittee,” Cicilline said in a statement.

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“While it is unclear whether these responses stemmed from their lack of preparation, purposeful evasion, or a failure by these companies to select appropriate witnesses for the hearing, we expect Google, Facebook, and Amazon to take this opportunity to provide responses to these questions raised during the hearing."

The three companies, along with Apple, sent executives to testify before Cicilline’s panel last week, where they were grilled about whether their dominance has strangled potential competitors and hurt consumers.

None of the companies immediately responded when asked for comment.

Each letter is accompanied by a list of questions about the companies’ respective business practices.

Facebook and Amazon both denied at the hearing that they use consumer data to snuff out smaller potential competitors, claims that were treated with skepticism by some lawmakers.

In the letters on Tuesday, both companies were asked to clarify their answer and to more fully explain how they use their troves of consumer data.

Cicilline asked the tech giants to respond by Friday.