The July tech antitrust hearing in the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee stands to be historic. With the CEOs of Silicon Valley’s four most important firms — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Tim Cook, and Google’s Sundar Pichai — all testifying, this may be the moment Americans finally get answers about what makes Big Tech tick and the implications the industry holds for competition in an increasingly digital world. Many — including Senators Lindsey Graham and Elizabeth Warren — have suggested that tremendous monopoly power in the hands of Apple, Google, Facebook, and Amazon has serious ramifications for the national economy and our democratic future. Are these companies monopolies? Have they caused harm? And if so, what steps are necessary to protect the public interest?
On August 4, Dipayan Ghosh, author of the new and highly acclaimed “Terms of Disservice: How Silicon Valley is Destructive by Design” (2020), addressed these and more questions with colleagues. Ghosh, a former White House economic adviser who previously worked on global privacy and public policy issues at Facebook now leads the Digital Platforms & Democracy Project at the Harvard Kennedy School, was joined by Kara Swisher, tech columnist with the New York Times and founder/editor of Recode, Tom Wheeler, former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, and Oliver Darcy, senior media reporter with CNN.