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Tech titan chiefs to testify at US antitrust committee

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The US House Committee on the Judiciary on Monday announced that leaders of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google will testify during an antitrust investigation hearing.

The hearing, scheduled to take place July 27, comes against a backdrop of growing complaints about tech platforms that have dominated key economic sectors, and calls by some activists and politicians to break up the Silicon Valley giants

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Chief executives Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Sundar Pichai (Google) will be allowed to appear virtually if they wish, according to a joint statement released by Judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline.

“Since last June, the subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement,” Nadler and Cicilline said.

“Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming.”

Google and Facebook, which account for the bulk of digital global advertising revenue, provide free services that have become largely dominant in their sector — such as Google’s search engine or its subsidiary, video-sharing platform YouTube.

Users’ interactions with these products allow the companies to collect data profiles and sell highly targeted advertising space on a massive scale.

At Apple and Amazon, it is instead their sales platforms — the App Store on iPhones and iPads, or Amazon’s e-commerce site — that are in the sights of sales representatives, since the two companies are both hosts and merchants.

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Earlier this year, the US Justice Department said it was reviewing potential anticompetitive actions by major tech platforms, and attorneys general from the majority of US states have launched antitrust investigations of Google and Facebook.

 


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‘Trump is scared’ and ‘literally does not appear to understand’ what is going on around him: White House reporter

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Writing in The Bulwark this Thursday, Playboy Magazine White House correspondent Brian Karem says that President Trump is losing the "strength and vigor" that carried him to an election win in 2016, especially in the wake of recently being "eviscerated" by Chris Wallace of Fox News and Jonathan Swan of Axios.

The interviews "not only exposed how unprepared Trump is for the long-interview format, but how unfamiliar and unrelatable he remains to facts," Karem writes. "He literally does not appear to understand them."

There was a time when a blusterous Trump would pick fights with reporters, but now he can "barely muster the get-up-and-go to turn the page on the briefing notes that he pretty obviously hasn’t looked at before lumbering to the podium," Karem writes.

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2020 Election

Biden says he won’t stand in way of possible future prosecution of Trump

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"I will not interfere with the Justice Department's judgment of whether or not they think they should pursue the prosecution of anyone that they think has violated the law."

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told NPR on Thursday that while he was unsure if it was "good for democracy," if elected he would not stand in the way of a hypothetical Justice Department prosecution of President Donald Trump for crimes committed in office.

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‘Political theater’: Analyst explains why Ted Cruz’s hearing on violence at protests was a deceptive farce

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On Tuesday, August 4, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas chaired a U.S. Senate hearing that was named “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.” The far-right Republican, during the hearing, claimed that “anarchist violence” and Antifa have been out of control at the George Floyd protests. Journalist Natasha Lennard, in an article published by The Intercept on August 5, dissects Cruz’ “political theater” and lays out some reasons why the hearing was a embarrassing farce.

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