Four tech titans go before Congress

By Brian Fung, Rishi Iyengar and Kaya Yurieff

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020
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2:21 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Mark Zuckerberg name-checks rivals in opening statement

From CNN Business' Kaya Yurieff

In his opening remarks, Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg pushed back at antitrust scrutiny by detailing the "intense competition" he says his company faces.

He ticked off a number of competitors, including from Apple's iMessage messaging platform, short-form video platform TikTok and YouTube. Zuckerberg also said the company competes with Amazon and Google in the advertising space.

2:42 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Tim Cook: Apple isn't dominant in any market

From CNN Business' Brian Fung

Apple CEO Tim Cook began his testimony Wednesday by recognizing the late Rep. John Lewis, before arguing that Apple faces fierce competition in the smartphone market.

“Our goal is the best, not the most,” Cook said.

We don’t have a dominant share in any market or in any product category where we do business.”

That’s not the main complaint that Apple critics have leveled against the company, though. What many app developers have complained about are Apple’s tough app store rules.

1:49 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Jeff Bezos: 'I believe Amazon should be scrutinized'

From CNN Business' Brian Fung

Amazon (AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos told Congress that “no force in the world should be able to move” a company that reflects on criticism and still decides it is doing the right thing.

In his prepared testimony posted to Amazon’s website, Bezos began with a personal appeal, telling the story of his mother and father, before explaining how they invested their life savings in Amazon, and the internet. It was “something they didn’t understand,” Bezos will say, but “they were making a bet on their son.”

Bezos claims that Amazon faces a crowded marketplace in online retail -- namedropping brands like Target, Costco and Walmart. The CEO will also note that his company deserves to be scrutinized:

Let me close by saying that I believe Amazon should be scrutinized. We should scrutinize all large institutions, whether they’re companies, government agencies, or non-profits. Our responsibility is to make sure we pass such scrutiny with flying colors.

1:56 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

Tech CEOs are just like us. Their video backgrounds are also being scrutinized

By CNN Business' Rishi Iyengar

Along with what they are saying, another subject of (some) scrutiny is bound to be the four billionaire tech CEOs’ videoconferencing backgrounds. 

Mark Zuckerberg went with the neutral white wall that he has used previously, while Tim Cook also chose a neutral background, albeit with what appeared to be a few plants on either side of him. 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, joined the hearing from in front of a classic wooden bookshelf, albeit with few books on it. 

Google’s Sundar Pichai, meanwhile, was seated in what appeared to be a boardroom, with a stack of books to his left and a plant, vase and some ceramic items on his right. 

2:10 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

The first tense moment of the hearing just happened

From CNN Business' Brian Fung

Rep. Jordan sparked a fight with Chairman Cicilline when he requested that Rep. Mike Johnson, the top Republican on the committee’s constitution subcommittee, be allowed to participate in the hearing.

After being denied due to an objection by another member, Jordan continued to insist that Johnson be allowed to join — prompting a tense moment with Cicilline, who ultimately reminded all lawmakers that they must wear a mask when it is not their turn to speak.


1:38 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

In pandemic twist, tech CEOs are sworn in remotely

From CNN Business' Kaya Yurieff

In a pandemic twist, the four tech CEOs raised their right hands and took their oaths remotely over video conferencing software Webex before testifying.

1:33 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

'Big Tech’s out to get conservatives'

From CNN Business' Brian Fung

Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordan set the tone early for how the GOP will engage with the CEOs, immediately launching into a rapid fire series of complaints alleging that the tech companies are biased against conservatives.

“I’ll just cut to the chase, Big Tech’s out to get conservatives,” Jordan said.

Tech companies have denied that their technology is biased against right-wing viewpoints.

1:40 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

...And we already have technical glitches

From CNN Business' Kaya Yurieff

As House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler presented his opening remarks, there was audible background noise, which appeared to come from someone else on Webex, the video conference software being used for this hearing.

Below Nadler on the screen there was a black box with the words "Jeff Bezos" on it, with an icon indicating video is turned off. Next to it, was another box that simply said "Facebook."

The four tech CEOs are appearing at the hearing remotely via videoconference.

1:26 p.m. ET, July 29, 2020

House Judiciary Chairman compares tech companies to railroad monopolies

From CNN Business' Brian Fung

House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler compared today’s tech titans to the railroad monopolies of yesteryear, saying that the industry exercises enormous power over markets.

“While the underlying technology is dramatically different of course, new digital intermediaries have the ability to control access to critical markets,” Nadler said at the start of the hearing.