Zuckerberg to Focus on Competitive Threats in Antitrust Hearing
(Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg will tell U.S. lawmakers that competition in technology is thriving and warn of Chinese influence on the industry when he testifies Wednesday before a subcommittee of U.S. Congressional leaders focused on antitrust.
In prepared remarks released on the eve of the hearing, the CEO positions antitrust as a geopolitical issue, and says that harming American companies could open the door to greater market share for Chinese competitors.
“We believe in values -- democracy, competition, inclusion and free expression -- that the American economy was built on,” Zuckerberg’s testimony reads. “There’s no guarantee our values will win out. For example, China is building its own version of the internet focused on very different ideas, and they are exporting their vision to other countries.”
Zuckerberg will also argue that there is plenty of competition in the tech industry, and that the numerous products Facebook now operates are proof of that constant need to adapt. Facebook’s prior acquisitions of Instagram and WhatsApp, and its expansion into new fields like augmented and virtual reality, are a benefit to consumers, he will say.
“We built these new products and services because the intense competitive pressures we face push us to experiment with new ideas,” Zuckerberg will say in his testimony.
He will also repeat a call he’s made numerous times in the past several years for regulators to help write clearer “rules” for the internet so Facebook and other tech companies don’t have to make their own decisions about free speech or privacy. “If we do this right, we can preserve what’s best about this technology -- the freedom for people to connect and express themselves and for entrepreneurs to build new things -- while also protecting society from broader harms,” his remarks read.
Zuckerberg will appear Wednesday at noon Washington time before the House Judiciary subcommittee focused on antitrust. He’ll be joined by the CEOs of Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc.
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