We Demand Answers! What Congress Should Ask Big Tech CEOs

Four prominent Big Tech CEOs are set to appear before a congressional subcommittee today, and we demand answers!

The CEOs of four of America’s largest Big Tech companies, including Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before the House Committee on the Judiciary’s Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Subcommittee today at 12:00 p.m. (EST).

Here are several questions Congress should ask these Big Tech CEOs:

  1. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen several social media sites move to restrict content from the president. Twitter has put factchecks on his tweets, Facebook has limited his ads and phone companies restricted the president’s reelection messages. When social media first began, it had the promise of freedom and free speech. Now, it’s actively undermining democracy itself. So the question is, can any nation have a free election given the power of social media to impact results? 
  2. Mr. Pichai, Google inexplicably shut down the general search for at least 15 prominent conservative sites. Then those searches magically reappeared. How does something like that happen? Even if it’s just a technical error, as Google claimed, why does any company have that incredible amount of power, and why should U.S. regulations facilitate it? Isn’t your company simply too big, and doesn’t it need to be broken up?
  3. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act provides some immunity from legal liability. Given that social media, Google, and Apple have all removed or blacklisted partisan content from the right but less from the left, why should we continue to support regulations you abuse? How would your companies argue that they have remained neutral in the face of all these removals of President Trump’s content, as well as the content of his supporters? And if you aren’t neutral, as we all know you aren’t, how can you be trusted to be this big and powerful? 
  4. Algorithms affect every user. Facebook creates ad algorithms, news feed algorithms, and even algorithms to match users with other users. Google uses algorithms. Apple uses algorithms. Yet no one outside of these companies understands how these algorithms work. There is very little transparency when it comes to content suggestion, content suppression, what users see first, and what users will never see at all. Would tech companies be interested in providing transparency for consumers? Shouldn’t algorithmic transparency be a requirement so we know what powerful companies like you are doing?
  5. You represent easily some of the most powerful companies in the history of the world. Possibly the most powerful. When railroads and the phone company got too big, government stepped in. Why shouldn’t we use antitrust laws to restrict your massive power?