Four big tech CEOs — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple — pushed back against accusations during a law-makers panel hearing capping a yearlong investigation into these companies’ market domination online.
Amid intense grilling on issues that centred on market power derived from uninhibited collection and access to data, all four CEOs focused their attention on the worth of their innovations and services to consumers. They testified via video link to lawmakers in Washington, DC. Google CEO Sundar Pichai struggled to deflect accusations of anti-conservative bias and retreated multiple times to a “Happy to have interaction with you” answer in response to questions that went deep into the working of the company’s mighty algorithms.
Pichai squirmed when asked whether he signed off on the company’s 2016 decision to merge data from the advertising company Double Click — bought in 2007 — with Google’s own data. Rep. Val Demings described this move joined that effectively “destroyed users’ anonymity” on the web. “I reviewed at a high level all the important decisions we make,” Pichai said. He talked up how Google “cares” about privacy and security of users and noted that Google not uses data from Gmail for ad targeting, a comparatively recent change.