• Freedom From Facebook & Google

Scope and Breadth of the Harms From Google’s Monopoly Requires Further Action From Federal Agencies and State Attorneys General


Washington, DC -- The following is a statement from Sarah Miller & David Segal, Co-Chairs of Freedom From Facebook & Google, about the Department of Justice’s lawsuit against Google:


“The DOJ lawsuit has been a long time coming, and after years of abusing its power, Google is finally starting to be held accountable in a bipartisan way for its monopolistic behavior and harms - starting with the recent House Judiciary investigation and report and continuing with this aggressive action. While this lawsuit addresses the way Google has illegally protected its monopoly over search and search advertising, there is still a lot more work to be done in terms of regulating Google’s other antitrust abuses.
“As we and many other organizations stated in our recent letter to the National Association of Attorneys General we look forward to seeing additional enforcement action from them addressing these harms.
“Despite the efforts that are still needed, this lawsuit is a critical and welcome step towards breaking up Big Tech’s power and putting an end to its monopolistic and harmful practices.”

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July 13, 2020

David N. Cicilline, Chair

F. James Sensenbrenner, Ranking Member

Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law

Jerrold Nadler, Chair

Jim Jordan, Ranking Member

Committee on the Judiciary

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


Chairman Cicilline, Ranking Member Sensenbrenner, Chairman Nadler and Ranking Member Jordan:


The committee recently made known that Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Google will testify later this month, but said that additional details of the format will be forthcoming. We write to urge you to ensure that the world’s most powerful tech CEOs testify in separate, individualized sessions before the House Judiciary Committee's Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law later this month in furtherance of its historic investigation into digital markets.


Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google derive power from their enormity and complexity, which strike at the heart of this investigation. Reporting suggests that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who among the four CEOs is the only who has never provided Congressional testimony, is focused on securing a format that could shield him from answering the Subcommittee's questions. Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai have all previously testified individually and voluntarily in accordance with Congress' requests.


As four of the six most valuable companies in the world, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google have broad and complicated corporate structures and business strategies. The difficulty of analyzing their businesses virtually and in a single day will be compounded by the likelihood that the CEOs, whose businesses are, of course, distinct, will work together, if allowed to testify side by side, to evade and deflect questions while obscuring critical answers the Subcommittee seeks.


No CEO should have the ability to artificially limit the Subcommittee’s investigation through tactics like this, but we must anticipate that these CEOs will tacitly cooperate to exploit any such openings during the hearing. Should the corporations refuse to come before Congress virtually and individually, we support immediately compelling their testimony through subpoena, along with any other information the Subcommittee deems relevant to its investigations that the corporations fail to voluntarily produce.


Sincerely,


Accountable Tech

Alliance to Counter Crime Online

American Economic Liberties Project

Athena

Backbone Campaign

Color of Change

Demand Progress Education Fund

Freedom From Facebook & Google

ILSR

Jobs with Justice

Make the Road New York

Media Justice

Open Markets Institute

Threshold



cc:

Nancy Pelosi, Speaker

Kevin McCarthy, Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives



  • Freedom From Facebook & Google

To: Edelman Public Affairs & Global Strategy Group

From: Freedom From Facebook & Google

Cc: CNN

Re: Your Work for Facebook as Zuckerberg Enables Trump’s Hate & Lies

Date: June 12, 2020

________________________________________________________________________

Your websites read “Time for Brands to Stand Up” & “In Solidarity With the Black Community,” as protestors marching against racism and hate have been tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested.








Simultaneously, Mark Zuckerberg defended his decision to let Trump spread hate on Facebook, including his racist historical reference to looting and shooting.





The episode revealed what many of us have long warned about: Facebook coming into tacit alignment with Donald Trump ahead of the 2020 elections, while dismissing, yet again, the role it plays in spreading dangerous, violent content. But Facebook’s disregard for democracy and socially destructive business model are widely known facts of which you’re surely aware.


In the face of growing pressure from advocates, including our coalition, and scrutiny from lawmakers, Facebook recently formed a new front group, American Edge. Both of your firms - through Joe Lockhart and Jim Papa - have been named and quoted in press articles as working for American Edge.


We believe that your stated support for progressive values and the fight for racial justice is irreconcilable with your public relations work for Facebook, given its role in spreading hate, fostering social discord, and undermining democracy.


As even Facebook employees resign in protest, your firms must put values ahead of profits and cease any work on behalf of American Edge or Facebook.


As engineer Timothy Aveni explained in his resignation, this is a much bigger issue than deciding whether a single Trump post encouraging violence should be removed. Facebook has built a toxic business model that depends on amplifying hateful and divisive content to increase user engagement and keep the ad revenue coming.


Mark Zuckerberg does not care about protecting free speech. He cares about protecting his power. And he’s willing to sacrifice our democracy to do so. Your firms should not be an accomplice.


We look forward to your response, and hope that your firms will be willing to demonstrate that the words on your home pages were not, in fact, co-opting the language of racial justice for corporate branding purposes.


Sincerely,

Sarah Miller & David Segal, Co-Chairs Freedom From Facebook and Google



P.S. We are also copying CNN, as we believe it would be appropriate for Joe Lockhart’s work for American Edge or Facebook to be disclosed when he is on the air or writing op-eds that discuss the protests and/or Trump, until that work ceases.


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