Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and the Big Tech reckoning: Rep. Ken Buck

Republicans blast big tech during congressional hearing for conservative censorship

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., says despite the big tech CEOs claiming they don’t censor conservative voices online, he continues to see liberal viewpoints promoted on their sites and he believes that impacts elections.

It’s morning in America and Silicon Valley’s time of reckoning has come.

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For years, Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple have benefited from America’s free-market system to grow into four of the biggest power players in the global economy.

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These companies have connected people to information and products in a way that previous generations could have only imagined but Big Tech’s darlings have also used their monopolistic advantage to corner the market and stifle competition.

It’s time they faced the music.

Congress can’t sit idly by as Big Tech uses its outsized influence to unfairly shut companies out of the marketplace, cozies up to communist China, and silences conservative voices.

Let me be clear – big is not necessarily bad. In fact, big is often a force for good.

However, Congress can’t sit idly by as Big Tech uses its outsized influence to unfairly shut companies out of the marketplace, cozies up to communist China, and silences conservative voices.

President Trump also jumped into the fray, tweeting that Congress needs to bring fairness to Big Tech.

After a year of investigating Big Tech’s anti-competitive practices, I agree with President Trump.

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The House Judiciary Committee’s antitrust subcommittee has reviewed more than 1.3 million documents and heard from hundreds of small and medium-sized businesses that have been negatively impacted by Big Tech’s harmful business practices.

After reviewing all this evidence, it’s clear that we can’t allow the status quo to continue.

In fact, two examples from the subcommittee’s field hearing in Boulder, Colorado this January, show just how far Big Tech will go to maintain their dominance.

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The CEO and inventor of PopSockets, the company that makes those useful devices to help you grip your phone, told the subcommittee how Amazon allowed thousands of counterfeit products to appear alongside PopSockets’ product and failed to remedy these problems until the company agreed to a nearly $2 million marketing deal with Amazon.

Genius Media Group Inc., a company specializing in detecting song lyrics, also told the subcommittee how it caught Google stealing its product red-handed.

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In fact, when Genius suspected this corporate theft was occurring, the company placed a digital watermark into its lyrics algorithm that spelled out “red-handed” in Morse Code.

When Google’s lyric boxes contained the watermark in 43 percent of tested songs, it proved that the search behemoth was stealing what it couldn’t or didn’t want to produce itself.

I raised these examples during Wednesday’s House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee hearing to help the American people understand the harm these tech giants are inflicting on startup businesses.

These brazen and anti-competitive moves were only possible because Big Tech holds a monopolistic advantage in the marketplace. There’s no other way an American company could get away with a move straight from the Chinese Communist Party’s corporate espionage playbook.

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These aren’t the only values some of Silicon Valley’s biggest players share with China though – the same communist nation that imprisons Uighur Muslims, exploits slave labor, suppresses the freedom of Hong Kong’s residents, and lied to the world about COVID-19.

The CEOs answers were telling – they refused to distance themselves from China in an effort to stay in President Xi Jinping’s good graces.

It was like pulling teeth to get all four CEOs to state on the record that their companies do not and will never use slave labor to manufacture or sell their products.

This shouldn’t even be a question for companies that claim they stand for freedom and equality.

The United States is the greatest country on Earth because we have embraced capitalism as an instrument for freedom.

The American dream is built squarely upon the central tenet of capitalism – freedom.

Unfortunately, Big Tech has abused that freedom and harmed countless Americans in the process.

It’s clear that Congress needs to reexamine how it treats Silicon Valley to ensure these companies can no longer stifle competition and harm the next generation of American greatness.

Republican Ken Buck represents Colorado's 4th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He is a member of the House Judiciary Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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