Antitrust law has focused on overcharging consumers, but Democrats want to update laws for tech companies that provide free services.
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Zuckerberg must immediately address the threat of voter suppression and calls to violence, they say.
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Social media was flooded with concerns on Wednesday after President Donald Trump’s disturbing refusal to commit to a peaceful transition of power if he loses the November election.Trump was asked at a White House press conference if he would commit to a peaceful transferal of power if he lost. Trump said, “Well, we’re going to have to see what happens.”Continuing his attack on voting by post – as millions of people prepare to do so amid the coronavirus pandemic – Trump also alluded that he would accept the results only if the option of mail-in ballots is removed.“Get rid of the ballots and you’ll have a peaceful ... there won’t be a transfer, frankly, there’ll be a continuation,” he said.For months, Trump has laid the groundwork to declare the election results illegitimate unless he wins. In July, he told Fox News anchor Chris Wallace that he’ll “have to see” if he’ll accept the results of the election.His brazen comments set Twitter afire as critics, including senators Mitt Romney, Brian Schatz, Chuck Schumer and Tammy Duckworth, voiced deep concerns about his disregard for democracy.Fundamental to democracy is the peaceful transition of power; without that, there is Belarus. Any suggestion that a president might not respect this Constitutional guarantee is both unthinkable and unacceptable.— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) September 24, 2020President Trump: You are not a dictator, and America will not permit you to be one. https://t.co/42krs0X50l— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) September 23, 2020People who are very chill about the President not committing to the peaceful transfer of power unless they “get rid of the ballots” are too chill for me. This seems an awfully serious thing to be dismissive about. At the very least it’s a good reason to oppose him vigorously.— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) September 23, 2020This is possibly the most frightening 54 seconds of the Trump presidency. https://t.co/BBC7Zn4BXh— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) September 23, 2020“Get rid of the ballots and there won’t be a transfer of power, there will be a continuation...” Yes, one system is authoritarianism. Another is democracy where people cast ballots & ballots are counted. Thankfully, many are protecting the latter & ready for any scenario. #VOTEhttps://t.co/rMm6z4FB6m— Vanita Gupta (@vanitaguptaCR) September 23, 2020Peaceful transfer of power is a hallmark of our democracy.This thinly veiled threat from the sitting President should send shivers down the spine of every freedom-loving American. https://t.co/mmBnnorqU7— Tammy Duckworth (@SenDuckworth) September 24, 2020We impeached this president to hold him accountable, to make clear no one is above the law, and to save our democracy. Senate Republicans put party over country and let him off the hook.This is the result. But it won't be our future. We will have a peaceful transition of power. https://t.co/V7qfvxDfIc— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) September 24, 2020The peaceful transfer of power is essential to a functioning democracy.This statement from the president of the United States should trouble all of us. https://t.co/pLYh9e8X3W— ACLU (@ACLU) September 24, 2020Pure fascist. And not a single republican in Congress gives a crap about it. https://t.co/UoAxl6OKZL— Bill Pascrell, Jr. (@BillPascrell) September 23, 2020Never before has there been an exchange with a US President like this. God willing, never again. “Will you commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election?”President Trump: "We're gonna have to see what happens."pic.twitter.com/UTPXigckVt— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) September 23, 2020THREAD. It is important to take note and be prepared for the unprecedented actions Trump says he intends to take after the election. But it is also important not to allow his *wishful* reality to *become the reality. To do that, consider Trump's psychological POV right now: https://t.co/faXkQw2BMn— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 20202. Every time Trump spouts this kind of garbage, he is revealing that he is TERRIFIED. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Terrified. His **existential** fear is losing. And he knows that there is a very good chance he is going to lose. And he can't do a damn thing about it. He will be a LOSER.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 20203. Remember that in pretty much every instance Trump has faced like this in the past, he's had an exit strategy. He walks away. But he can't get out of the election. He's like a mail-order bride who has to go through with it. Except in his case, if he loses, he may end up in jail— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 20204. This situation is like the coronavirus. He understands the reality, he knows he can't escape it, so his only option is to create an alternate reality. Reality, however, caught up with him with COVID. So it is up to YOU to make sure the same happens with the election.— Asha Rangappa (@AshaRangappa_) September 24, 2020
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Photo by Mandel Ngan-Pool/Getty Images Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before the Federal Trade Commission this week as part of the regulator’s ongoing antitrust investigation into the company, according to a new report from Politico Thursday. The FTC has been investigating Facebook for potential violations of US antitrust law for at least a year. Facebook announced in July 2019 that the agency had launched a probe into the company as part of its quarterly earnings disclosures. According to Politico, that investigation is still ongoing, and Zuckerberg testified under oath over the course of two days this week as part of the probe. “We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal Trade Commission’s inquiry” “We are committed to cooperating with the US Federal... Continue reading…
The CEOs of four tech giants recently defended their market power in a historic antitrust hearing. A week later, it feels like business as usual. Blockbuster earnings, copycat apps, and near-$2-trillion market caps tell a different story to the one we heard from these companies a week ago. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Four of the world's most powerful tech CEOs appeared virtually before Congress late last month to defend against accusations they had grown too powerful. Only 24 hours later, as all four companies announced Wall Street-beating earnings, these executives were singing a very different song to their investors. Amazon blew past expectations for a record quarter, while Facebook proved neither a pandemic nor an ad boycott could hurt it. And Apple is nearing a $2 trillion market cap at the time of writing. But while stocks were soaring, some of the biggest revelations gleamed from the hundreds of emails and internal documents released by Congress were only just coming to light. Within those pages was a far more insightful look at how these giants often acquired smaller companies to consolidate power. And in the days that followed, it's felt like business as usual. Facebook rolled out its TikTok clone for Instagram, Reels, only a week after Mark Zuckerberg was questioned about the company's copycat strategies. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) said during the House hearing that the company's tactics of cloning and acquiring made it "hard for new companies to flourish." Unlike its less successful Lasso feature, Reels arrives as the fate of TikTok hangs in the balance, which could play to Facebook's favor. Apple hasn't escaped the headlines either, after Tim Cook met Congress amid concerns that the App Store operated in a way that was anticompetitive. This week, Facebook publicly attacked Apple's App Store policies after finally launching its Facebook Gaming app, but only after removing the ability for users to actually play games (they can still watch games via streaming). Microsoft, meanwhile, slammed Apple for prohibiting its cloud gaming service on Apple's iOS platform. Google finds itself facing the most immediate danger from antitrust action, with the Justice Department said to be preparing a case for later this summer, and this week its attempt to acquire Fitbit looked less certain as the EU launched a full-scale investigation.  But that certainly didn't stop the company from staking a $450 million investment in security-monitoring provider ADT to boost its smart home business. Antitrust regulators may have put some fear into big tech last week, but after the past few days, you'd be forgiven for not thinking so.SEE ALSO: A top Wall Street tech analyst says Google is 'less relevant' in e-commerce since the pandemic — and it needs to develop or acquire to start gaining ground on rivals like Amazon Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why thoroughbred horse semen is the world's most expensive liquid
Last week’s hearing with Silicon Valley CEOs provided a rare glimmer of hope that Congress can, occasionally, work across the aisle.
Bezos has pointed to the proliferation of third-party sellers on Amazon as evidence that the company isn’t trying to suppress competition in the e-commerce market.
Accountability is coming—not just because Congress had an impressive hearing this week, but because the confluence of crises now demand action.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos joined the leaders of Apple, Facebook, and Google on July 29 to testify before Congress on antitrust issues.  For Bezos, how Amazon competes with its third-party selling business comprised quite a bit of the questioning.  Bezos maintained that Amazon elevates small business owners like its third-party sellers. But some Amazon sellers don't agree.  Amazon did not respond to a request for comment for this story.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. When Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testified with three other tech leaders on July 29 on antitrust issues, many of those who make their livelihood on Amazon's retail marketplace tuned in. There are approximately 1.7 million third-party sellers on Amazon, according to Bezos, and more than 200,000 of them generated more than $100,000 in sales last year. They comprise 60% of product sales on Amazon — collectively beating the retailer at its own game.  Some of those merchants, along with those who oversee online seller communities or provide consulting work to sellers, told Business Insider they weren't happy with how Bezos talked about sellers during the hearing. Bezos stressed that Amazon's retail dominance is partially thanks to these third-party sellers. He also referred in his opening remarks to everyday folks who have benefitted from Amazon's marketplace, like Sherri Yukel, a mother and aristan who now employs 80 people to run her Amazon-based business.  He said these small business owners succeed thanks to Amazon's focus on "supporting sellers and giving them the best tools we could invent." That claim that Amazon is dedicated to supporting sellers is what rubbed some merchants the wrong way. The animosity between Amazon and some of its sellers goes back years Paul Rafelson — a tax law attorney and chairman of the Online Merchants Guild, a trade association — said sellers in his online communities were displeased when Bezos emphasized Amazon's support of small businesses on its marketplace throughout the hearing. "People were sick to their stomach with his fake sincerity," Rafleson said. The animosity may seem unwarranted at first brush. But for years, merchants have pushed back on several challenges of selling on Amazon. Some of the most contentious points include the lack of communication when Amazon suspends a seller account and Amazon re-producing what other brands and manufacturers are already selling. Both can cost a business dearly. Scott Needham, an Amazon merchant with $50 million a year in sales and host of "The Smartest Amazon Seller" podcast, is one seller who has struggled with Amazon's account suspension system. His company BuyBoxer has been suspended twice in recent years; one suspension in May slashed his sales by about 90% in just one day. In both instances, Amazon did not communicate with BuyBoxer on why it was suspended until several days after, costing the company tens of thousands of dollars in sales. "There are certain things where I think, 'How does a trillion dollar company not solve certain parts of this puzzle?'" Needham said. "There are many legitimate businesses on Amazon, just mom-and-pops, tens of thousands that rely on them. They just under-invest in keeping those sellers up and running." "There are all these stories of ways that Amazon has basically ruined seller's lives," Rafelson previously told Business Insider. "One strong suspension or misunderstanding can destroy a seller's business." Lawmakers drilled down on how Amazon competes with its own merchants Some merchants pay big money to ex-Amazon executives for the secret sauce in getting ahead on the massive marketplace — but sometimes Amazon itself beats the little guys out. Sellers have stated for years that Amazon will sometimes duplicate items from their own catalog that perform well on the website. The retailer has access into the data on third-party sales, and some say they do not use that data in good faith. Jeff Peterson told The Wall Street Journal in 2012, for instance, that his $30 stuffed-animal pillows once sold gangbusters on Amazon — until Amazon started selling its own animal pillows for $12 apiece.  State Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, who represents parts of Seattle, was keen on asking Bezos how his employees use third-party sales data. "The issue that we're concerned with here is very simple," Jayapal said. "You have access to data that far exceeds the sellers on your platforms with whom you compete." Bezos did not provide a clear answer on how that data is used. "What I can tell you is we have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private-label business," the CEO said. "But I can't guarantee you that policy has never been violated." Another way in which sellers must compete against Amazon is in the retailer's search function. Getting on the first place or on the first row when a consumer searches, say, "iPhone case" is the target of many sellers. But, as The Wall Street Journal's Dana Mattiloi reported last year, Amazon usually claims the first spot for its own line of products.  "I find it very troubling when you search for something, and the second row down will be brands from Amazon," Needham said. "I know sellers who would kill for that spot." He added, "The fact that they give it to themselves — I do not know how (Bezos) can be up there in front of Congress and say that everything is equal." Some say there's bigger fish to fry yet While sellers were happy to see their long-emphasized problems reach the House Judiciary subcommittee, they say it's unclear how lawmakers can do much more besides make Bezos sweat. Amazon seller consultant James Thomson, who was previously a senior manager at the mega-retailer, said the issues raised in the hearing may cast Amazon as an unfair competitor — but not necessarily one that acted unlawfully. After all, sellers consent to giving Amazon their sales data. It may leave a bad taste in someone's mouth, but it's not illegal.  "This is a situation where there are a lot of people who don't like Amazon, or think Amazon is unfair, immoral, or not nice," Thomson told Business Insider.  Thomson added, "Is it fair? I'll let someone else decide that, but fairness has nothing to do with it. Do we have laws that know how to properly address companies this big? At this point, I don't think the laws have kept up adequately." That viewpoint is echoed by Jason Boyce, who sold on Amazon for nearly 17 years and now consults third-party merchants on how to succeed on the platform. Boyce said Amazon needs to be broken up, but the United States' current laws don't provide a path for that.  "I'm honestly both disgusted by the behavior of these big companies, while simultaneously understanding why they do the things they do to capture more market share and squash competition," Boyce, the co-author of the forthcoming book "The Amazon Jungle," told Business Insider. "It's part of their DNA."SEE ALSO: 'Amazon is not their friend': Amazon sellers are organizing against the retail giant as the FTC and DOJ continues their anti-trust probe Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: What makes 'Parasite' so shocking is the twist that happens in a 10-minute sequence
Wednesday's tech antitrust hearing was a grueling six-hour event in which House committee members grilled Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai about their companies' market power.  Cook, Apple's CEO, received what seemed like the fewest questions, but he was asked about the App Store and how Apple treats app developers.  Zuckerberg was probed on Facebook's acquisition strategy and whether it bought companies like Instagram to "neutralize" a competitor.  Pichai, who is CEO of Google-parent Alphabet, received what seemed like the most questions from the committee on matters ranging from perceived conservative censorship to Google's search dominance.  Bezos had perhaps the most surprising admission of the day when he admitted Amazon may have violated its own policies when it comes to third-party seller data and its private-label business.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Four of tech's most high-profile leaders spend nearly six hours on Wednesday being grilled before the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust subcommittee.  The hearing allowed subcommittee chair Rep. David Cicilline to compel Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, to answer questions on their companies' acquisition strategies, data collection tactics, advertising methods, and behavior toward consumers and third-party vendors that use their platforms. The hearing also opened up the floor to questions unrelated to antitrust. Several members of the committee grilled executives like Zuckerberg and Pichai over what they see as conservative censorship on their platforms, and Cook and Bezos were questioned on topics like cancel culture and charitable donations through their platforms.  Wednesday's hearing was the first time Bezos testified before Congress and the first time all four major tech CEOs testified alongside each other. The subcommittee said it would use the testimonies it gathered Wednesday to complete its year-long investigation into whether Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google engaged in anticompetitive practices. But if you didn't sit through all six hours of testimony, here's what you need to know about how each CEO was questioned Wednesday's hearing. Tim Cook was scrutinized over Apple's treatment of app developers Cook was largely left alone for a significant portion of the hearing. When he was questioned, Cook was mostly asked about the App Store, and whether Apple applies rules differently to different developers. Rep. Hank Johnson, a Democrat from Georgia, told Cook the committee's investigation had found that "the rules are made up as you go, they are arbitrarily interpreted and enforced, and are subject to change whenever Apple sees fit to change." Cook denied that's the case, saying the company treats every developer the same.  "We have open and transparent rules, it's a rigorous process," Cook said. "Because we care so deeply about privacy and security and quality we do look at every app before it goes on. But those rules apply evenly to everyone." When Johnson asked whether Apple would ever raise App Store commission fees, Cook replied that doing so would push developers to other app stores. "It's so competitive I would describe it as a street fight for market share," Cook said. Cook also denied assertions that the company would retaliate against developers who complained about Apple's policies, saying that "it's strongly against our company culture" to bully or retaliate against people.  Mark Zuckerberg was pushed on Facebook's acquisition tactics and its treatment of rivals Zuckerberg, along with Pichai, seemed to face the brunt of the committee's questioning. Lawmakers devoted a significant amount of time to how Facebook treats rivals in the social media space. Rep. Pramila Jayapal questioned Zuckerberg on whether the company's competitive strategy includes outright copying features from rivals, and Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook has "certainly adapted features" from other companies. Lawmakers also grilled Zuckerberg on whether Facebook had ever threatened to clone a rival's product in an attempt to acquire it, like in the case of Snapchat and Instagram, and whether he saw the acquisition as a means to "neutralize" a competitor, which Zuckerberg denied. "It was clear that this was a space that we were going to compete in one way or another," Zuckerberg said about Instagram. "I don't view those conversations as a threat in any way." Elsewhere in the hearing, Zuckerberg addressed what some lawmakers viewed as conservative censorship on the platform. Zuckerberg defended Facebook's content moderation policies and said he would investigate complaints of bias among moderators.  "We want to make sure that anything we do reflects the values of the company that we'll give everyone a voice," Zuckerberg said.  Sundar Pichai faced accusations that Google abuses its search prowess to identify competition and crush it Like Facebook, Pichai had to defend Google over assertions from GOP lawmakers that its platform is inherently biased against conservatives, that it actively attempted to help Hillary Clinton get elected in 2016, and that it's censoring information about an unproven treatment for the coronavirus a malaria drug called hydroxychloroquine. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, Democrat of Pennsylvania, described several of these notions as "fringe conspiracy theories."  But Pichai faced a tougher line of questioning when it came to Google's power over its competitors — Cicilline pointed to Yelp, specifically, as a competitor that Google has wielded unfair power over by threatening to delist Yelp in search results. Cicilline questioned Pichai over what the committee sees as a conflict of interest: that Google search results will frequently point users to other Google products, like YouTube, over competitors. Pichai denied that search results favor Google products. "We have always focused on providing users with the most relevant information," Pichai said. Pichai was also questioned over Google's relationship with China — he initially told the committee he didn't have "first-hand knowledge" of China stealing information from Google, though it was one of the main reasons Google pulled out of China. (Pichai later corrected this statement.) Jeff Bezos was grilled on Amazon's relationship with third-party sellers Bezos wasn't questioned for a significant portion of the hearing after what was likely a technical issue. But lawmakers quickly piled on the questions for Bezos on multiple aspects of the company's business, particularly its relationship with third-party sellers. In perhaps the most revelatory moment of the hearing, Bezos told the committee that he couldn't guarantee Amazon had never violated its own policies when it comes using trend data about third-party sellers to dictate Amazon's private-label products.  Amazon was accused of using its size to bully and harass third-party vendors, and that sellers have no other choice but to work with Amazon because "it's the only game in town," according to Cicilline.  Bezos didn't deny that that type of behavior had taken place, but stopped short of admitting any wrongdoing on Amazon's part.  "It does not seem like the correct way to treat her," Bezos said about comments from a third-party seller who said she'd been crushed by Amazon. "I don't understand what's going on in that anecdote. I do not think that's systematically what's going on."Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Leslie Odom, Jr.'s $500,000 gamble that led to a starring role in 'Hamilton'
Hello, everyone! Welcome to the new edition of Insider Today. Please sign up here. QUOTE OF THE DAY "Democracy is not a state. It is an act, and each generation must do its part to help build what we called the Beloved Community, a nation and world society at peace with itself," — the late John Lewis. He left the New York Times a posthumous essay to be published the day of his funeral. WHAT'S HAPPENING GDP plunged at an annualized rate of 33% in the second quarter, by far a record drop. The pandemic lockdowns caused the economy to shrink about 10% in the quarter. Meanwhile, weekly unemployment claims increased again to 1.43 million, the 19th week in a row with more than 1 million claims.   President Trump suggested postponing the presidential election, which he cannot do. Trailing badly in the polls, Trump tweeted falsely that mail-in voting could make the election "FRAUDULENT." Only Congress could change the date of the presidential election, and only a constitutional amendment could change Inauguration Day.  Former GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain has died at 74, apparently of COVID. He had been hospitalized for weeks, and had contracted the virus shortly after attending President Trump's Tulsa rally. A former restaurateur, Cain briefly led the GOP field in 2011. Trump considered him for the Fed board in 2019, but didn't nominate him after widespread opposition.  VIEWS OF THE DAY It's time to take Trump seriously, figuratively, and literally This morning President Trump tweeted about delaying the election due to the pandemic. In April Trump's rival, Vice President Joe Biden, predicted the President might try to delay the election if his poll numbers looked bad, and they look hideous. Remember that this is a pandemic that spun out of control largely because of a lack of federal response. Trump only put on a mask himself a few weeks ago. The White House could create the conditions for safe elections by competently handling this crisis, but it won't. That's why we're here. Trump works by gut instinct, and he has never let his ignorance of how the US government works — or the limits of presidential power — stop him from trampling on the rights of others. (See: His multiple attempts at passing a travel ban on Muslim countries.) The fact that he can't change the date of the election won't stop him from knocking on every door, or trying to open any window he can, into victory. We already have evidence that Trump will stop at nothing to improve his chances for reelection. Two weeks ago he tried to get Republicans to defund coronavirus testing in Congress' upcoming pandemic relief bill to make infection numbers look better for him.   If you think someone who is willing to do that won't try to hinder the democratic process, I have a gold-plated, Trump-branded bridge to sell you. And I don't just mean Trump will try messing with vote counts, I mean he will be messing with our faith in the outcome of this election and the process of democracy itself. That's the bare minimum of what he will do. It is in this man's inherent nature to use all of his power — unfortunately, the power of the presidency — for his own power's sake. That is exactly how Henry Wallace, Vice President of this country from 1941 to 1945, described American fascists. "A fascist is one whose lust for money or power is combined with such an intensity of intolerance toward those of other races, parties, classes, religions, cultures, regions or nations as to make him ruthless in his use of deceit or violence to attain his ends. The supreme god of a fascist, to which his ends are directed, may be money or power; may be a race or a class; may be a military, clique or an economic group; or may be a culture, religion, or a political party." Be vigilant. Take Donald Trump seriously, literally, figuratively. He is a desperate demagogue limited only by what we the people will abide. — Linette Lopez Now we know what Jeff Bezos' worried face looks like Four masters of Silicon Valley — the CEOs of Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook — testified before Congress to answer for their anti-competitive behavior yesterday, and in stark contrast to previous hearings they were visibly shaken by the questions they were asked. As I put in my column, we got to see Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' worried face. Some highlights in case all you caught were the clips of Republicans screaming about being silenced (there was some of that, but there was more productive questioning): Members of both parties hammered Facebook for its strategy of buying, copying or threatening competitors out of business, reading damning internal emails from the company's acquisition of Instagram. Bezos was tongue tied when asked why Amazon makes money from counterfeit goods, nor could he answer any questions about Amazon's protocol for ensuring that it's not selling stolen goods. Bezos squirmed through questions from Representative Pramila Jayapal about how Amazon misuses third-party seller data to develop in-house brands that compete with merchants selling on his platform saying only, "I can't answer that question yes or no." Zuckerberg could not explain away the fact that his company profits from peddling misinformation. Cicilline brought up that, despite committing to only distributing accurate information about the coronavirus, it took Facebook five hours and 20 million views before it took down a video full of false claims about the pandemic. Amplifying that misinformation once its on the platform, Cicilline said is a "business decision." Democratic Rep. Congressman Joe Neguse of Colorado pressed the CEOs of Apple and Google, both of which control app stores, to promise they would not use the information they collect from apps in their stores to build competitors. Democratic Rep. Val Demings of Florida pressed Pichai about the way Google surveils its customers, bundling data from across all of its products (Gmail, maps, etc.) in order to sell them targeted ads All in all, the CEOs seemed caught off guard. They expected this hearing to be more of the same from Washington — a series of uninformed questions from geriatric senators who barely read email. It was not that. Catch the whole column here.  — LL BUSINESS & ECONOMY Exxon is reclassifying employees as poor performers in order to hide layoffs as performance-based job cuts. Internal documents and 19 insiders reveal that the company is pushing managers to downgrade employees in order to force them out for performance reasons. In April, Exxon required managers to put at least 8% of employees in the poor performer category, up from a previous minimum of 3%.  There was some fraud, but not a ton of it, in the PPP program. The SBA watchdog has found about $300 million in potentially dubious small business loans, out of more than $500 billion issued. LIFE Scientists have finally figured out where the huge stones at Stonehenge came from. The 80 "sarsens," which weigh 25 tons each, were brought from about 15 miles away, and probably all at the same time.  10 signs your relationship will or won't work, based on a study of 11,000 couples. Some are obvious: Do you fight a lot? Is your sex life good? Others are less so: Do you appreciate your partner? LISTEN OF THE DAY Parents, teachers, and lawmakers are all debating whether or not schools should open their doors this fall for in-person instruction. We joined Insider Audio's Charlie Herman for a discussion about what it will take to get students back in their seats amidst a pandemic, and what's at stake if they don't return. Click here to listen to the full conversation. — HB & DP THE BIG 3* She tried making scrambled eggs 10 different ways: Insider's Rachel Askinasi changed the level of heat, added different liquids, and compared results. Milk made them watery, cream made them fluffy.  Claudia Conway returned to Twitter. She criticized her mom's boss, Donald Trump, and joked that AOC should adopt her. The best and worst things about living in a camper van. Pluses: the great views, the nature, the lack of schedule. Minuses: No showers, no WiFi, never getting to stay in the same place for more than a couple nights.  *The most popular stories on Insider today.Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Inside London during COVID-19 lockdown
Photo illustration by William Joel | Photo by Andrew Caballero-Reynolds / AFP via Getty Images Newly released emails from April 2012 show Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other executives were frustrated by slow internal prototyping and weighed the benefits of quickly copying and iterating on smaller apps like Pinterest instead. A chain of messages starts with Zuckerberg recounting a meeting with the founders of Chinese social networking app Renren. “In China there is this strong culture of cloning things quickly and building lots of different products,” he wrote. “Seeing all this and the pace that new mobile apps seem to be coming out from other companies makes me think we’re moving very slowly. ... I wonder what we could do to move a lot faster.” The messages were released on Wednesday as part of a House Judiciary Committee... Continue reading…
Well, we had an antitrust hearing. A long one, too. The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the market power of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google ran to nearly six hours, accounting for a handful of delays and intermissions. Alternating Democrats and Republicans asked the CEOs of those companies a combined 217 questions, ranging from pointed questions about how Facebook intimidates smaller competitors (from Rep. Pramila Jayapal) to comically self-interested inquiries into why members’ fundraising emails are going to the spam folder (thank you, Rep. Greg Steube.) In its lunatic whipsawing between companies, issues, and conspiracy theories, Wednesday’s antitrust hearing resembled nothing so much as an endlessly scrolling social... Continue reading…
New documents surfaced through a Congressional investigation into Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook show how the companies pursued acquisitions and fought off perceived competitors.  The documents provide a rare glimpse into the actions taken by top executives including Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs at crucial moments for their company. Lawmakers said the documents are evidence that companies engaged in anticompetitive behavior, but CEOs defended their companies' actions and said they continue to face stiff competition. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple didn't become four of the biggest tech companies in the world overnight — and newly surfaced documents show the tough, often-cutthroat decisions made by top executives at the company at pivotal moments in their growth. Members of Congress obtained emails, memos, and internal studies from the four companies as part of an ongoing antitrust investigation. They were published Wednesday when the CEOs of the four companies testified in an unprecedented Congressional hearing. The documents reveal how top executives at the tech giants including Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs guided their companies' growth and jousted with perceived threats. They also paint a picture of four tech companies aggressively pursuing growth at all costs, chasing acquisitions and strategizing against possible competitors. Many of the lawmakers leading the House Antitrust Committee's investigation said the documents are evidence that the companies wield too much power. But the four CEOs repeatedly framed their actions as necessary steps to keep their companies alive. Facebook emails show Zuckerberg worried 'Instagram can hurt us' before acquisition Months before Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion, Zuckerberg wrote in an email that he was concerned "Instagram can hurt us meaningfully without becoming a huge business." In a different email, a colleague questioned whether Zuckerberg's reasoning for wanting to acquire Instagram was to either neutralize a competitor or improve Facebook. In his response, Zuckerberg said it was a combination of both. He then replied to that email 45 minutes later to clarify that "I didn't mean to imply that we'd be buying them to prevent them from competing with us in any way." At one point in Wednesday's hearing, Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, accused Zuckerberg of leveraging acquisitions of companies he saw as threats. "These tactics reinforce Facebook's dominance which you then use in increasingly destructive way," Jayapal said. Zuckerberg said in response that Facebook doesn't aim to intimidate or pressure competitors. "I respectfully disagree with the premise," he said. Amazon emails show how the company tried to hobble Diapers.com before acquiring it Emails published by Congress show Amazon aimed to undercut Quidsi, the parent company of Diapers.com and Soap.com, before acquiring the company for $545 million in 2010. "We have already initiated a more aggressive 'plan to win' against diapers.com," Amazon retail executive Doug Herrington wrote in a 2010 email. "To the extent that this plan undercuts the core diapers business for diapers.com, it will slow the adoption of Soap.com." "We have already initiated a more aggressive 'plan to win' against diapers.com," Herrington apparently wrote in an email released by the committee. "To the extent that this plan undercuts the core diapers business for diapers.com, it will slow the adoption of Soap.com ... We need to match pricing on these guys no matter what the cost." Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, a Pennsylvania Democrat, questioned Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the emails Wednesday and accused Amazon of routinely weakening competitors with low prices, even if it caused Amazon to take a loss. Bezos responded that he didn't remember the situation described in the emails about Diapers.com and that Amazon sets low prices to win over customers. "I cannot comment on that because I don't remember it," Bezos said. "What I can tell you is that we are very, very focused on the customer." New emails show how Steve Jobs used Apple's control over the app store to 'cut off' developers  Congress published emails that show former Apple CEO Steve Jobs wielding the company's control over its app store to punish developers. In one 2010 email, Jobs suggests the company "cut off" Joe Hewitt, a developer that didn't want to comply with Apple's new requirement that iPhone apps be written in Apple's native programming language. "I'd suggest we just cut Joe off from now on," he said. Emails suggest Google feared competitors that could divert traffic away from its own products Rep. David Cicilline, chair of the Antitrust Subcommittee, said that newly published emails from over a decade ago show Google repeatedly considering whether to delist companies from search that it found threatening. "These documents show that Google's staff discussed 'the proliferating threat' that these web pages pose to Google. Any traffic lost to other sites was a loss in revenue," Cicilline said. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, said in reply that the company prioritizes users' experiences, but did not directly address anticompetitive concerns. "When I run the company, I'm really focused on giving users what they want. We conduct ourselves to the highest standard," Pichai said. Read more about new emails surfaced by Congress: Mark Zuckerberg wrote to his top lieutenants about the benefits of 'cloning' competitors after meeting with Chinese entrepreneurs in 2012 — read the full memo Newly released Steve Jobs emails, included in Congress' antitrust investigation, show how ruthless the Apple founder could be Emails show Amazon coordinated an 'aggressive' plan to 'undercut' Diapers.com before acquiring its parent company in 2010 Newly-released emails reveal how Google hoped to pay $50 million for YouTube in 2006, and why it ended up paying $1.65 billion Emails show how Amazon's $1 billion Ring acquisition was driven by Jeff Bezos' interest in its 'market position – not technology' New text messages show Kevin Systrom worried about Mark Zuckerberg going into 'destroy mode' if he didn't sell to Facebook Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Why YETI coolers are so expensive
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