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Protocol's guide to the tech hearing

When Mark Zuckerberg testified before Congress last year, he was mocked for the sheer number of times he promised he'd "get back to" lawmakers about questions that he said he didn't know the answer to.

Zuckerberg, Tim Cook, Sundar Pichai and Jeff Bezos answered many questions directly during Wednesday's antitrust hearing in the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee. But there were still plenty of questions that the CEOs pledged they'd get to later or declined to answer altogether.

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Here's just a few of them.

'Isn't that anti-competitive?'

Rep. David Cicilline, the chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, came out swinging against Google during his first round of questioning, pressing Pichai over how Google treated restaurant review website Yelp.

Cicilline quoted documents in which Google threatened to delist Yelp entirely after Yelp complained the search giant was stealing its content.

"Isn't that anti-competitive?" Cicilline asked.

"Congressman, uh, when I run the company, I'm really focused on giving users what they want," Pichai said. "I'm happy to engage and understand the specifics, and answer your questions further."

"You were referring to companies like Instagram in that quote, weren't you?"

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler cited internal documents as he accused Facebook of acquiring Instagram in order to "neutralize a potential competitor." In a 2012 email obtained by the committee, Zuckerberg wrote, "One thing about startups is you can often acquire them."

"You were referring to companies like Instagram in that quote, weren't you?"

"Congressman, I don't have the exact document in front of me," Zuckerberg said, before launching into an explanation of Facebook's thinking about Instagram at the time.

The effects of GDPR

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, one of the few Republicans who focused on antitrust during questioning, pressed Pichai over how Google has been complying with privacy laws in Europe.

"I'm not familiar with the specifics of that question," Pichai said.

"You're not familiar with how you're complying with GDPR?" Armstrong asked.

Silencing conservatives

Rep. Greg Steube launched into a lengthy monologue about his concerns that Google was not serving him conservative publication The Gateway Pundit.

"Was there anything done at Google … that has changed your approach to silencing conservative websites?" Steube asked.

"On the specific issue, I will have to look into it — I obviously wasn't aware of it," Pichai said.

"Can I expect a response from you in the next two weeks?" Steube asked.

"Congressman, we'll do our best to follow up and I'll engage with your office," Pichai pledged.

Diapers.com

Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon cited internal documents that showed Amazon sought to crush Diapers.com after identifying them as a serious rival on its online retail platform.

"How much money was Amazon ultimately able to lose on this campaign to undermine Diapers.com?" Scanlon asked.

"Thank you for the question — I don't know the direct answer to your question, this is going back in time 10 or 11 years or so," Bezos said.

"Do you think this is an acceptable way to treat someone?"

Rep. Lucky McBath played audio from an Amazon seller who said Amazon started retaliating against her small family company "with no warning."

"After Amazon delisted this small business without any apparent reason or notice, she told us they sent more than 500 separate notifications to Amazon, including to you, Mr. Bezos, over the last year and received not a single meaningful response," McBath said. "Do you think this is an acceptable way to treat someone you described as both a partner and a customer?"

"I appreciate you showing me that anecdote," Bezos said, striking the conciliatory tone that he leaned on throughout the hearing. "I'd like to talk to her. It does not at all to me seem like the right way to treat her, and I'm surprised by that."

"I don't understand, but I would like to understand it better and with your permission, I'd like to get in touch with your office," Bezos said.

How Zuckerberg treated Evan Spiegel

Rep. Pramila Jayapal accused Zuckerberg of telling Snapchat founder Evan Spiegel that he was copying aspects of his app while attempting to buy Snapchat.

Jayapal asked, "Did you warn Evan Spiegel, the founder of Snapchat, that Facebook was in the process of cloning the features of his company while also attempting to buy Snapchat?"

"I don't remember those specific conversations," Zuckerberg said.

Will HBO Max be available on Amazon's Fire device?

Rep. Jamie Raskin said consumers are wondering when HBO Max will be available on Amazon's Fire device. "Is it fair to use your gatekeeper status role in the streaming device market to promote your position as a competitor in the video-streaming market with respect to content?" Raskin asked.

"I'm not with the details of those negotiations," Bezos said. "They're underway right now. I predict the companies will eventually come to an agreement."

"Are you using power in one domain into power in another domain where it doesn't belong?" Raskin asked.

"I think what I should do is offer to get you information," Bezos said. "I'll get it to your office."

What about PopSockets?

Rep. Hank Johnson described allegations from PopSockets, which has said it paid enormous sums of money in order for Amazon to deal with a scourge of counterfeits imitating its main product.

"If those are the facts and if someone somewhere inside Amazon said 'buy X dollars in ads and then we'll help you with your counterfeit problem,' that is unacceptable and we'll look into that and I'll get back to your office on that,'" Bezos said.

The allegations were described by PopSockets CEO David Barnett last year.

Music licensing on Twitch

When Armstrong began asking questions about Twitch, Amazon's video-streaming platform, it quickly became clear that Bezos did not feel prepared to answer any questions about the site or its music licensing practices.

"My understanding is Twitch allows users to stream music but does not license the music — is that correct?" Armstrong asked.

"I'm going to have to ask that I could get back to your office with an answer to that question," Bezos said. "I don't know."

The Alexa Fund

Rep. Joe Neguse asked Bezos to respond to allegations in a recent Wall Street Journal article, which found that Amazon launched competing products with startups after meeting with them about potentially investing in their businesses.

"Are you aware of those allegations?" Neguse asked.

"I don't know the specifics of that situation," Bezos said. "I would be happy to get back to your office with more information about that."

If it seemed like Democrats on the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee were building a methodical antitrust case against the biggest tech companies Wednesday, that's because they were.

Lined up one after the other, transcripts of the Democrats' exchanges with Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai and Tim Cook would read like a detailed indictment of the companies they lead — complete with excerpts from damning documents and sometimes dissembling responses from the CEOs.

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Rep. Jerrold Nadler cited internal documents collected by the committee that showed Facebook acquired Instagram after identifying it as a "threat." Rep. Jamie Raskin cornered Bezos into admitting that Amazon Alexas are priced below market, making them difficult to compete with. Rep. David Cicilline, the chairman of the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, jabbed Pichai over a Google email showing some websites were "getting too much traffic."

These arguments — and the evidence to support them — will surely be a centerpiece of the subcommittee's final report, which a senior aide said is coming "later this year." That report will lay out what the committee has discovered after six hearings, 385 hours of calls and meetings, and 1.3 million documents from the companies, said another aide. And it will likely establish how exactly the Democrats believe antitrust law should be changed in order to keep pace with the digital age — and lay the groundwork for a serious legislative undertaking if the Democrats sweep both chambers and the White House later this year.

Even if Congress doesn't pass any meaningful antitrust legislation, tech giants still face intense and mounting scrutiny from the Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general across the country — all of which are now probing tech giants' potential antitrust violations. Those agencies and state governments could use any of the testimony from Wednesday to bolster their own cases against the Big Tech companies.

The FTC has several investigations going on simultaneously, the most advanced of which is an inquiry into Facebook, which the company disclosed last year. The probe reportedly includes a look at Facebook's history of acquiring potential competitors, including Instagram and WhatsApp. In an interview last summer, FTC Chairman Joseph Simons told the Financial Times that he planned to wrap up the investigation in time for the presidential election. But a recent New York Times report suggested that timeline will not be feasible, with the investigation likely extending into next year.

The FTC also announced in February that it would be looking into Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft's history of smaller acquisitions that hadn't previously been reviewed by the commission. "We wanted to get a handle on why they were not reportable, what their transactions look like, whether they were potentially problematic or not and whether there was something we should do about it," Simons told reporters at the time.

Meanwhile, the FTC has also been interviewing Amazon merchants as part of an inquiry into the ecommerce giant's treatment of sellers and competing products on its platform, but that investigation appears to be in earlier stages.

Whenever the FTC investigation concludes, its options for financial penalties are limited, says Michael Kades, director for markets and competition policy at the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and a 20-year veteran of the FTC. The FTC can seek a fine only after a company has violated an order, and the Supreme Court is currently set to decide whether the FTC even has the power to recover money through disgorgement, a tool it's used in the past. That means that if the FTC does find, say, Facebook to be at fault, the repercussions would be mainly structural. The agency could, for instance, require Facebook to divest from those businesses, prohibit Facebook from kicking competition off of its platform or limit its ability to make acquisitions.

Kades predicts Facebook would fight such an order. "They'd argue these happened so long ago … there's no way you can unscramble the egg," Kades said. Facebook could also settle, as it did last year, when it paid the FTC $5 billion for privacy violations.

The FTC's inquiries into tech giants have been complicated by simultaneous investigations of the same companies at the DOJ. The FTC and DOJ had reportedly agreed to split the workload, with the FTC overseeing Facebook and Amazon, while the DOJ took the reins on Apple and Google. But during a congressional hearing last year, Makan Delrahim, head of the DOJ's antitrust division, acknowledged "squabbles" between the two agencies over each other's jurisdictions. "It's not the best model of efficiency," Delrahim said.

In one antitrust case the FTC brought against Qualcomm, the DOJ went so far as to publicly oppose the FTC and side with Qualcomm. And despite the supposed division of labor, the DOJ is also reportedly investigating Facebook for antitrust violations, as well.

Kades calls the infighting between the DOJ and the FTC "bizarre" and unlike anything he saw during his two decades at the FTC. "You would hope they're not looking at the same thing," he said. "They're short enough on resources."

Attorney General Bill Barr, a controversial figure in Washington, has made it clear that he hopes to wrap up the DOJ's antitrust investigation into the top tech companies and bring a serious case against Google sooner rather than later. The impending antitrust lawsuits against Google, which could come as soon as this summer and are likely to garner support from multiple states, are expected to focus on Google's dominance in online advertising and search. It's the most serious threat to Google's business in the U.S. in years.

"The Google investigation [is] where the real action is," said one business community source who has been tracking the antitrust investigations and litigation closely. "That's where people are going to see, 'How big of a problem does Google have?' That's where the energy will focus."

The DOJ's case against Google will be closely watched by both its rivals and detractors, including Yelp and Brave, as well as the other dominant tech firms, to see which "theory of the case" DOJ lands on to justify the lawsuit. Google declined to comment.

The DOJ's tech antitrust work is mired in skepticism from critics who say they're concerned that the DOJ has been tainted by political pressure, namely from President Donald Trump. Trump has repeatedly pummeled tech companies, including Google, over unsubstantiated allegations that they are biased against conservatives.

"What you will see is a case that's brought for political reasons, that's timed in order to get the best political attention," said David Balto, a former lawyer in the DOJ's antitrust division. Balto is now a private antitrust attorney who has advised several top tech firms, including Amazon and Google.

It's unusual for an attorney general to bring a significant case so close to an election, when it's possible that another administration will ultimately take the reins. Still, former FTC Chairman Bill Kovacic said he's waiting to see the DOJ's complaint to determine whether it's a serious case.

Kovacic, who is now the director of the George Washington University's Competition Law Center, said he believes the FTC, DOJ and state attorneys general will have to bring at least one lawsuit against the companies in order to be seen as "legitimate enforcement agencies."

All 50 state attorneys general have joined an antitrust investigation into Google, spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Paxton has already hit Google with a civil investigative demand, ordering the company to answer a detailed list of questions and turn over documents in its inquiry into Google's advertising practices. Google responded by requesting a vast array of documents from Paxton's office, having to do with, among other things, how outside consultants and Google critics may have influenced the investigation. Paxton's office declined to comment for this story.

Facebook faces a similarly broad investigation in the states, with 47 state attorneys general joining a probe led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. James' office also declined to comment, beyond the initial announcement.

While Amazon and Apple have, so far, skirted any public announcements from states, recent reports suggest they're both facing their own antitrust inquiries in a number of states. Apple declined Protocol's request for comment, and Amazon didn't respond. The attorneys general offices in California and Washington wouldn't confirm or deny the existence of any investigations into Amazon.

For Kovacic, this groundswell of action from lawmakers and regulators suggests that Wednesday's public airing of grievances was only the beginning. "The states and the enforcement agencies have staked an enormous amount of their institutional credibility on doing something," he said. "They cannot walk away."

Congress takes a lot of abuse for being dumb about tech, and some of it's well deserved. Take, for instance, Rep. Greg Steube grilling Sundar Pichai about why — surprise! — different search results appear at different times and why some of his emails go to spam.

But if the tech CEOs appearing at today's hearing hoped to skate around lawmakers too clueless to take them on, well, that's not what's happening. While most high-profile congressional hearings feature a series of random and disconnected partisan speeches disguised as questions (and there have been a few of those today, to be fair), the Democratic members of the House Antitrust Subcommittee seem committed to building a methodical and coordinated case against Big Tech — and they came with receipts.

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One by one, the Democrats laid out their case and collected evidence to support it:

  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal vs. Jeff Bezos: Jayapal, who represents much of Seattle, asked Bezos to answer a simple "yes or no" question: Does Amazon use data from third-party sellers to improve its own products? The committee accused Amazon General Counsel Nate Sutton of lying under oath about this issue when he appeared before Congress last year.

    In response, Bezos said, "I can't answer that question yes or no. What I can tell you is we have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business." But he conceded, "I can't guarantee you that policy has never been violated."

    Jayapal then quoted an anonymous former Amazon employee who spoke to the committee during its investigation: "There's a rule, but there's nobody enforcing or spot-checking. They just say, 'Don't help yourself to the data.' It's a candy shop. Everybody can have access to anything they want."
  • Rep. David Cicilline vs. Sundar Pichai: The subcommittee chairman grilled Pichai specifically about Google "stealing" content from other companies, like Genius, who fear retaliation from Google if they complain. "So my first question, Mr. Pichai, is why does Google steal content from honest businesses?" Cicilline also asked about an internal Google document complaining that some websites were "getting too much traffic" and asked how Google can claim to deliver the most relevant search results while also favoring "whatever's most profitable for Google."
  • Rep. Jerry Nadler vs. Mark Zuckerberg: The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee pinned Zuckerberg down with specific documents and emails in which Zuckerberg suggested buying Instagram because he feared the upstart would be "disruptive" and Facebook was "vulnerable in mobile." Zuckerberg's defense: There were lots of photo-sharing apps at the time — remember Path? — and there was nothing wrong with Facebook buying one. "In hindsight, it probably looks obvious Instagram would have reached the scale it has today, but it was far from obvious," he said.
  • Rep. Joe Neguse vs. Mark Zuckerberg: Neguse pressed Zuckerberg over a slide created for Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg in 2012, which concluded Facebook is "now 95% of social media in the U.S." He pointed to that internal slide to bolster his argument that Facebook's business amounts to a "monopoly."

    Neguse, the vice chair of the subcommittee, then quoted a 2014 email from Facebook's chief financial officer, who described the company's acquisitions strategy as a "land grab," and pointed out documents showing Facebook acknowledging internally that its user base overlapped significantly with WhatsApp's.

    "You did tell one of Facebook's senior engineers in 2012 that you can 'likely just buy any competitive startup, but it'll be a while before we can buy Google,'" Neguse read. "Do you recall writing that email?"

    "Congressman, I don't specifically," Zuckerberg said. "But it sounds like a joke."
  • Rep. Pramila Jayapal vs. Mark Zuckerberg: Jayapal interrogated Zuckerberg on Facebook's practice of launching copycat features. Bluntly, she asked, "Do you copy your competitors?" Zuckerberg's response: "We have certainly adapted features that others have led in." When pressed for the number of times this might have happened, Zuckerberg didn't have an answer.

    Things became more heated when Jayapal asked, "Has Facebook ever threatened to clone the products of another company while also attempting to acquire that company?" When Zuckerberg said, "Not that I recall," Jayapal replied, "I'd like to just remind you that you are under oath."

    She then brought up examples from when Facebook bought Instagram and attempted to snap up Snapchat. Jayapal said Zuckerberg used Facebook products to threaten competitors into selling, specifically highlighting a conversation between Zuckerberg and Instagram's Kevin Systrom, in which Systrom reportedly felt threatened. Zuckerberg denied the allegation, saying, "I don't view those conversations as a threat in any way."
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin vs. Jeff Bezos: Rep. Jamie Raskin ticked off a series of hyper-specific questions about Amazon's Alexa, cornering Bezos with questions about whether Alexa smart speakers are priced below market — thus making them nearly impossible to compete with. Bezos conceded that Alexa speakers are priced below market when they're on "promotion," which they frequently are. Raskin then interrogated Bezos about why Alexa automatically offers up Prime Music and tells users to buy AmazonBasics batteries. He asked if Alexa is trained to promote Amazon products. "We do promote our own products," Bezos admitted.

Any confessions and nonanswers are certain to be noted by the regulators investigating Big Tech both in the U.S. and around the world.

We're about two hours into the hearing, and Jeff Bezos has had almost nothing to do. While Facebook, Apple and Google's CEOs have had to endure being drilled from members of both parties, Amazon's CEO has primarily sat with his Webex feed turned off, being asked only one question so far.

It's indicative of how the hearing has been going for all four companies. Although there's definitely a possible antitrust argument for each of the companies at the hearing, some are coming off stronger than others.

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Rep. Jerry Nadler grilled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on whether he saw Instagram as a competitive threat before the company acquired it. In the world of sharing photos (which is, pretty much all you can do on Instagram), Zuckerberg said that it was. Nadler reminded him that buying a company to quash competition under FTC regulations is illegal.

Rep. David Cicilline brought up a recent report by The Markup that showed, more often than not, that Google's top search results were Google's own products. CEO Sundar Pichai was also hounded about the lyrics the company allegedly lifted from the lyrics-archive website Genius for its own search results.

Rep. Hank Johnson took Apple CEO Tim Cook to task over the monopoly it has over what apps can be installed on the 100 million iPhone devices in the U.S., and the cut Apple takes from their developers.

Amazon so far has only had to answer one question, about its search feed. It's yet to have to answer for the fact that its AWS cloud services power so much of the web, nor that it has had reportedly investing in companies only to launch competing products itself, or that it's changed its search algorithms to boost its own products.

In every case, these companies have built ecosystems that are tough to break out of. More people use social media through Facebook properties than any other service in the world. Google is far and away the largest provider of search, video, and email services, and along with Facebook, effectively control the digital advertising market. If you want to work with Apple, you have to play by its rules, and pray it doesn't alter the deal any further. Amazon is well on the way to becoming the internet's "everything store," while owning some of the most important digital infrastructure online.

But some of these ecosystems are more exclusive than others. If you don't want to use Apple products, there are excellent alternatives for all of its products made by other companies — just be wary of the social stigma of green text bubbles. If you don't want to sell to or buy from Amazon, there's Walmart, Target and, to a degree, Shopify. For AWS, there's other major cloud providers (though a few of them are also on this hearing). For Google, your options are more limited — there's no search engine quite as dominant as Google, nor a video platform as broad as YouTube. But there are some other options — products like Firefox instead of Chrome, Bing (it's not bad!) or DuckDuckGo instead of Google Search, and even products like Helm if you don't want any tech company of any kind reading your email. For Facebook, you can try calling your friends or just texting them photos, but you won't have nearly the same reach as you would on Facebook or Instagram.

And then there's Twitter, which Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner seemed to have confused for Facebook. The microblogging site recently suspended Donald Trump Jr. for sharing a highly controversial video about COVID-19. Zuckerberg informed him that he was in fact thinking of Twitter, and not the company he runs. Twitter CEO Jack is probably enjoying not having to dial into this hearing with a bit of meditation.

Correction: This post was updated July 30 to correct Jerry Nadler's name.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler grilled Mark Zuckerberg over documents obtained during the committee's investigation showing that Zuckerberg wanted to acquire Instagram in order to neutralize a potential competitor in 2012.

"The documents you provided tell a very disturbing story," Nadler said, addressing Zuckerberg during the blockbuster hearing. "That story is that Facebook saw Instagram as a powerful threat that could siphon business away from Facebook."

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"Rather than compete with it, Facebook bought it," Nadler said.

Nadler cited one document in which said Zuckerberg told a colleague, "One thing about startups is you can often acquire them." Nadler also referred to a 2012 email message in which Zuckerberg told his chief financial officer that Instagram could be "very disruptive" to Facebook and suggested that Facebook consider an acquisition because "we're vulnerable in mobile."

Zuckerberg said he didn't have the "exact documents" in front of him. "But I've been clear that we viewed Instagram both as a competitor and as a complement to our services," he said. "At the time, almost no one thought of them as a general social network."

"This is exactly the type of anticompetitive acquisition that the antitrust laws were designed to prevent," Nadler concluded.

The FTC in 2012 green-lit Facebook's acquisition of Instagram.

In his opening remarks, Rep. Jim Jordan expressed concerns about conservative censorship from Big Tech, highlighting examples of what he claims is unfair targeting of conservative social media users.

He accused Google of censoring Breitbart and Amazon's Twitch of censoring Trump, as well as calling out Twitter's Jack Dorsey — who he noted he'd invited to testify.

Jordan said that these issues are dismissed by the tech companies as being "just a glitch," but said he wasn't satisfied with that answer. "If I had a nickel for every time I heard 'it's just a glitch', I wouldn't be as wealthy as our witnesses but I'd be doing alright," he said.

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After his statement, Jordan got in a shouting match with Chairman Ciciliine over an objection raised to his proposal to add another lawmaker to the committee. The argument ended with Jordan being told by someone to put his mask on.

In his prepared opening remarks, House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline lays out three lines of argument against Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple:

1. The companies are each a "bottleneck for a key channel of distribution." Think: Apple's App Store, Facebook and Google's online advertising platforms. This means the companies can easily exploit the people and businesses that can't live without them.

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2. The companies use their "control over digital infrastructure to surveil other companies." This allows them to elbow out competitors. For instance, this could refer to Amazon allegedly spying on third-party sellers to improve its own products, a key pressure point for Jeff Bezos during today's hearing.

3. The companies "abuse their control over current technologies to extend their power." For one, Google stands accused of directing users to its own products, or "self-preferencing."

Critics have said the lawmakers couldn't possibly delve deep into the antitrust arguments around each of these very different companies. But Cicilline will clarify that the committee instead will focus on patterns of potentially monopolistic behavior across all of them.

"At today's hearing, we will examine how each of these companies has used this playbook to achieve and maintain dominance—and how their power shapes and affects our daily lives," Cicilline plans to say.

Only a few minutes after the Big Tech CEO hearing was slated to start, President Donald Trump made sure to offer his input for the committee.

"If Congress doesn't bring fairness to Big Tech, which they should have done years ago, I will do it myself with Executive Orders," Trump tweeted. "In Washington, it has been ALL TALK and NO ACTION for years, and the people of our Country are sick and tired of it!"

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Trump has threatened to take unilateral action against the top tech companies many times before. But the warning carries fresh gravity on the heels of the White House's social media executive order, which took on the tech industry's legal liability protections.

Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai testify Wednesday at 9 a.m. Pacific before the House antitrust subcommittee, where they'll be grilled about how their monolithic businesses have shut out rivals and acquired the competition on their rise to the top.

In a letter to the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday morning, TikTok's top lobbyist, Michael Beckerman, said the company hopes to "set the record straight" about its ties to China, whether it poses a national security threat to the U.S. and how its existence counteracts the massive power of dominant social media companies like Facebook.

"Without TikTok, all that users would be left with is copycats offered by the same players who already dominate the online landscape," wrote Beckerman in a thinly veiled jab at Facebook, which is working to spin up a TikTok copycat called Reels.

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TikTok sent the letter hours before Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai are set to appear before the committee to address questions around their market dominance. The tech executives, and particularly Zuckerberg, are likely to call out TikTok by name, claiming the mega-popular video app's rise is a sign of a healthy, competitive online marketplace.

For the most part, Beckerman made it clear that he agrees TikTok is a serious competitor — but that the company is concerned that Facebook is attempting to wield its market power to crush it.

The argument serves a dual purpose for TikTok: It both frames Facebook as a monopolist strangling an upstart competitor and discourages lawmakers from moving forward with plans to push TikTok out from U.S. markets over their concerns that TikTok is excessively cozy with the Chinese government. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill, the State Department and the White House have all made it clear that they are mulling ways to ban TikTok over concerns that it shares data with China (which Beckerman insists it does not do.)

In addition to the letter, TikTok's new CEO, Kevin Mayer, on Wednesday morning posted his first public remarks, which mainly revolve around how TikTok helps keep competition alive in the U.S., despite Facebook's alleged efforts to quash the company,

"At TikTok we welcome competition," Mayer wrote. "To those who wish to launch competitive products, we say bring it on."

"TikTok has become the latest target," he wrote. "But we are not the enemy."

Read Beckerman's full letter her (PDF):

TikTok_Letter_re_House_Antitrust_Hearing_2020.07.29_FINAL.pdf