Four top US big techs, Facebook, Alphabet’s Google, Amazon and Apple faced questioning and defended their practices before an antitrust congressional probe.
As part of the antitrust probe of the four tech companies, the House of Representatives released the answers on Tuesday and sent queries to back up the probe. This hearing is just one out of a long list of other antitrust probes.
Overtime, the companies have tarnished their reputation by privacy lapses and allegations that they abused their power as top in the industry to hurt small rivals.
Facebook and Apple refused to respond to the story, while Google and Amazon had no comment at the time.
Google which also owns YouTube had been accused of favouring its own services over other smaller companies in search results, both in video and internet browsers. Criticisms of Google include misuse and manipulation of search results, its use of other people’s intellectual property and its compilation of data which likely violates people’s privacy. Google denied favouring its service in search results over the others.
Google said its word processing and analytics tool are configured to work with other browsers and not just chrome and that the vast majority of clicks from Google search go to other websites other than google.
Google does not totally deny using users’ data for ad purposes. In fact, it says its vertical integration of advertising tools benefits advertisers through better consumer targeting, but that the power to compete its rivals is not “meaningfully affected” because it makes it a level playing field for every company involved.
The search company said further that it could not provide the data requested by the committee on the premise that it does not “have a standard definition for what searches are considered location searches and thus, cannot provide the specific information requested.”
Facebook acknowledged cutting off certain third-party apps from its platform, but restricted answers on how the company is going about handling prospective competitors like MessageMe, Voxer, Stackla, and Phhhoto, the social network replied that it would restrict apps that violate its policies without giving all the details.
Facebook was also queried about how and why locations are collected and if collection occurs when users have requested for it not to be disclosed.
Amazon responded when queried that aggregated data from merchants on its third-party market place was only used for business purposes. It denied using the data to launch or source a new product. The e-commerce site acknowledged asking their third-party merchants to lower their prices when it discovers that the merchants sell the same items for less on a competing website. However, the company refused to give details on how much revenue and profit the company makes.