House panel invites Facebook, Google, Amazon to hearing on competition

House panel invites Facebook, Google, Amazon to hearing on competition
© Greg Nash

The House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) on Thursday formally invited some of the largest tech companies in the country to testify at an upcoming hearing about whether their practices harm small businesses. 

Velázquez invited Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to testify at a hearing in November, underlining that the committee is looking for a response by Oct. 31.

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"It is no secret that big tech platforms have grown exponentially in the digital era, altering the ways American consumers buy products and shifting many traditional business models,” Velázquez said in a statement.

"Given this, I believe it is appropriate and necessary to bring big tech companies and small businesses to the table to discuss how the rise in online retail and digital platforms is shaping the playing field for America’s small firms," she said. "I look forward to the hearing and hope to confirm the presence of Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple in the coming weeks."

Amazon and Facebook both confirmed they have received the invitation. Google and Apple did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. 

The hearing invite comes as each of the companies — some of the largest and most valuable in the world — are facing intensifying antitrust scrutiny, with regulators and lawmakers probing whether they use their dominant market positions to quash competitors and take advantage of consumers.

The Federal Trade Commission and Justice Department are looking into whether major technology companies operate as monopolies, while the antitrust panel of the House Judiciary Committee continues to look into competition issues in the digital marketplace.

The House Small Business Committee is only the latest congressional panel seeking to haul in Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Over the past year, the companies have sent representatives to testify on a range of issues including online extremism, antitrust concerns, privacy and more.