EU lawmakers have requested that the chief executives of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google attend a hearing on February 1. As reported by Reuters this is part of the commission’s aim to crack down on these big tech giants.
The EU has long been attempting to crack down on these big tech companies for a range of issues. These range from privacy, security, data use and antitrust problems with various investigations launched over the years.
Most recently the EU investigated Google’s acquisition of FitBit over concerns about data use. Eventually, the regulators greenlit the deal but only after months of investigation.
Back in October 2020, the EU also began investigating Instagram for alleged misuse of minors’ personal data. Allegedly Instagram allowed business accounts access to minors’ data.
This hearing appears to be the first step as the EU aims to provide input into proposals by the European Commission. These proposals aim to force these big tech companies to compete fairly with rivals as well as help to tackle online misinformation.
EU asks for big tech CEOs to attend a hearing
The hearing is set to take place on February 1, with the aim of having an “exchange with the chief executive officers of the four globally leading platform companies”. The invitation states the EU wants “to learn bout their current business models and future concepts as they face the challenges of altering market conditions”.
The invitation goes on to say the hearing will discuss potential new regulation for the digital sector. The EU claims that for these reasons that is why they have invited just the CEOs.
The invitation also says that the EU is willing to switch the date to accommodate the CEOs. However, reports suggest that these individual are unlikely to accept the invitation.
Given Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai will hold a video-conference call with EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager on Jan. 25 another appearance seems unlikely.
Vestager is well-known to have strong views on bringing in tougher regulation for these big companies. He wants to push for harsher rules regarding digital and competition issues.
With these big tech companies clearly under the spotlight from the EU how they behave and interact with regulators in the coming months could be fascinating.
It is likely that the likes of Google, Amazon and Apple will face harsher regulations in the future. However, the question is just how harsh these rules will be and whether these companies can have any input on them.