WASHINGTON : Google and Facebook took the sharpest jabs for alleged abuse of their market  power from Democrats and Republicans on Wednesday in a much anticipated hearing with four of America's most prominent tech CEOs in the hot seat.

Facebook Inc's Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon.com Inc's Jeff Bezos. Alphabet Inc owned Google's  Sundar Pichai and Apple Inc's Tim Cook whose smartphone together represent ABOUT 15 TRILLION OF MARKET value parried a range of accusations from lawmakers via videoconference before the House judiciary committee's antitrust panel.

US Representative David Cicilline, a Democrat and chair of the antitrust subcommittee, began by accusing Google of theft.
''Why does Google steal content from honest businesses?'' he asked.

Cicilline accused Google of stealing reviews from the company Yelp Inc and said that Google threatened to delist the company from search results if it objected.

Pichai responded mildly that he would want to know the specifics of the accusation.

''We conduct ourselves to the highest standards,'' he added, disagreeing with the characterization that Google steals content from other businesses to populate its search engine and keep users on its own services.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg took a series of questions about the company's purchase of Instagaram in 2012, and whether it was acquired because it was a threat.

Zuckerberg responded that the deal had been reviewed by the Federal Trade Commission and that Instagram at the time was a tiny photo-sharing app rather than a social media's phenomenon.

''People didn't think of them competing with us in that space,'' he said.

On the Republican side, Representative Jim Jordan, accused the companies of taking a long list of actions that he said showed they try to hamper conservatives from reaching their supporters.

''Big tech is out to get conservatives,'' he said. The companies have denied allegations of political censorship.

Jordan and Cicilline had a heated exchange within 30 minutes of the hearing's start, tangling over Jordan's request to allow another member of Congress to join the panel [Reuters]


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