Capitol Hill is still trying to understand and potentially regulate the power of tech tycoons and their sprawling kingdoms. When it comes to marketplace fairness and accessibility of opportunities and innovation, the tech world is a source of contention for lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.
In communications reviewed by both The Washington Post and The New York Times, Amazon, Facebook, and Google are apparently willing to testify during antitrust investigations in front of the Congress. Prior to this, top executives from Silicon Valley have appeared before the Congress but these reports are decidedly different as they note one surprising detail: Amazon's Jeff Bezos (who owns The Washington Post) has indicated an openness to testify. If this happens, it will be the first time Bezos steps into the tense and grilling Congress arena.
What lawmakers might ask — Given heightened antitrust probes and scrutiny, it is possible that both Republican and Democrat lawmakers will want to learn more about these companies' past acquisitions, executive private communications, data methods, potential violations of fairness in terms of competition with rivals and smaller companies, past lawsuits, and a lot more.
As for Bezos — If Bezos indeed goes to Congress to testify, it is highly likely that lawmakers will ask him about Amazon's market practices, how it acquires data regarding third party sellers, its treatment of warehouse workers before and during COVID-19, scams, frauds, and more. Of course, the scope of questions is something Bezos' attorneys will attempt to limit.
According to The New York Times, the law firm representing Bezos — Covington and Burling — wrote in a letter that Amazon was "committed to cooperating with your inquiry and will make the appropriate executive available to testify." Of note, the letter indicated that Amazon would be interested in a "good-faith discussion with the committee to resolve these important issues." How Amazon defines "good faith" is an entirely different story and is bound to impact the nature and utility (or lack thereof) of its testimony.
Apple signals silence — While Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Google's Sundar Pichai have indicated an openness to show up to testify, Apple's CEO did not commit, according to The Washington Post. This could spell trouble for the company as lawmakers have expressed no problem with threatening executives with subpoenas. Overall, apart from Apple's current silence, it looks like these top tech executives are willing to testify — as long as they have each others' backs in the lion's den.