Pichai, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook take heat during US Congress grilling of big tech CEOs | WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs Pichai, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook take heat during US Congress grilling of big tech CEOs – WeForNews | Latest News, Blogs
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Pichai, Zuckerberg, Bezos, Cook take heat during US Congress grilling of big tech CEOs

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New York, July 30 : Four big tech CEOs — Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Sundar Pichai of Google and Tim Cook of Apple — pushed back against accusations during a US Congress panel hearing capping a yearlong investigation into big tech’s market domination online.

Amidst intense grilling on issues that centred on market power derived from uninhibited collection and access to data, all four CEOs focused their attention on the value of their innovations and services to consumers. They testified via video link to lawmakers in Washington, DC.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai struggled to deflect accusations of anti-conservative bias and retreated multiple times to a “Happy to engage with you” answer in response to questions that went deep into the working of the company’s mighty algorithms.

Pichai squirmed when asked whether he signed off on the company’s 2007 acquisition of adtech platform DoubleClick which allows it to link internet users’ browsing data via the DoubleClick cookie to Google accounts and effectively destroy users’ anonymity on the internet.

“I reviewed at a high level all the important decisions we make,” Pichai said. He talked up how Google “cares” about privacy and security of users and noted that Google no longer uses data from Gmail for ad targeting, a relatively recent change

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos repeatedly offered “I don’t remember” or “We are looking into it” as an answer to lawmaker concerns about how the company might be killing off small businesses, poaching ideas from competitors or employee testimony that there is “nobody enforcing” policies in a company that has become a “candy shop” of seller data.

For years, Amazon has been dogged by allegations that it uses its dominance to identify and enter into new product categories using its unique lens into inside information on third party seller data.

Pushed on this question by Pramila Jayapal, who represents the district in which Amazon is headquartered, Bezos sidestepped saying he could not answer yes or no. “I can tell you we have a policy against using seller-specific data to aid our private label business but I can’t guarantee you that that policy has never been violated.”

Facebook CEO Zuckerberg faced fire over the company’s acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp, a pervasive strategy of copying competitors’ features, selling user data to third parties and the forest fire analogy of how fake news spreads on the mighty platform

In his responses, Zuckerberg admitted that Facebook has “certainly adapted features that others have led in” but countered that the company’s moves were not anti-competitive.

“I’ve always been clear that we viewed Instagram as both a competitor and as a complement to our services,” Zuckerberg said.

The Facebook’s CEO used his time during opening remarks to knock competitors. “In many areas, we are behind our competitors”, he said. “The most popular messaging service in the US is iMessage. The fastest growing app is TikTok. The most popular app for video is YouTube. The fastest growing ads platform is Amazon. The largest ads platform is Google.”

“Apple CEO Tim Cook contended that his company does not have a dominant market share “in any market where we do business” and prioritises the quality of product versus scale.

Apple, whose iPhone is the world’s third-largest selling phone in the world, is facing EU investigations over fees charged by its App Store and technical limitations that allegedly shut out competitors to Apple Pay.

Cook said, “In the more than a decade since the App Store debuted, we have never raised the commission or added a single fee. In fact, we have reduced them for subscriptions and exempted additional categories of apps. The App Store evolves with the times, and every change we have made has been in the direction of providing a better experience for our users and a compelling business opportunity for developers.”

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Lava launches budget smartphone for Rs 7,777

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

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New Delhi, Aug 4 : Domestic mobile manufacturer Lava on Tuesday launched a new smartphone Z66 as the latest addition in its Z series for Rs 7,777.

Lava Z66 features a 6.08-inch HD+ notch display with a 2.5D curved screen and 19:9 aspect ratio. The device is powered with a 1.6 GHz octa-core processor with 3GB RAM and a storage capacity of 32GB (expandable up to 128GB).

The smartphone is currently available at offline stores and will soon be available on Amazon and Flipkart in three colour variants – marine blue, berry red and midnight blue, the company said in a statement.

“This beautiful device not only lets you click the most stunning pictures but also delivers a power-packed all-round performance,” Tejinder Singh, Head- Product, Lava International said in a statement.

The smartphone sports a dual rear camera setup of 13MP + 5MP with LED flash and a13MP selfie camera with screen flash.

The camera also comes with features like beauty mode, night mode, HDR mode, burst mode, panorama, time lapse and slow motion, along with filters.

The device houses a 3950mAh battery and runs stock Android OS (Android 10).

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New Google Chrome extension brings more ad transparency

Named Ads Transparency Spotlight, the early version of the extension is available on the official Chrome Web Store, ZDNet reported on Sunday.

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San Francisco, Aug 3 : As part of its efforts to give people more visibility into the data used to personalise ads, Google has launched a new Chrome extension that lists all companies and services with a presence on the page including content delivery networks or analytics providers.

The extension includes the criteria used to show ads, the ad tech companies helping to display these ads, and the ad platform companies serving these ads on a web page.

Named Ads Transparency Spotlight, the early version of the extension is available on the official Chrome Web Store, ZDNet reported on Sunday.

At the time of release, it only shows information about those ads purchased through Google Ads that have implemented the Ad Disclosure Schema, a uniform system for advertisers to disclose how their ads work.

As others implement this schema, these ads will also appear in the extension.

“Over time, we hope the industry will incorporate the Ad Disclosure Schema into their ads,” Google said.

Google said it released the extension to provide a tool for transparency into the criteria being used to show ads.

“Our ultimate goal is to support a more transparent ad ecosystem globally,” the company added.

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TikTok parent to shift HQ from Beijing to London: Report

Earlier reports suggested that the talks were halted after the US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the country over security concerns.

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London, Aug 3 : Chinese unicorn ByteDance which owns the popular short video-sharing app TikTok has received approval from the British government to move its headquarters from Beijing to London, The Sun newspaper reported.

A formal announcement from ByteDance’s founders on setting up shop in London is expected soon, said the report on Sunday. While there is no official word on the deal yet, the newspaper said that the deal could see ByteDance’s founder Zhang Yiming and TikTok’s creator Alex Zhu relocating to London.

Last month, The Sunday Times reported that after months of negotiations with the UK’s Department for International Trade and government officials, ByteDance halted the talks about opening a global headquarters in London due to the “wider geopolitical context”.

That report that cited a source came barely a week after the UK government announced a ban on the purchase of new Huawei kits for 5G from next year and said that the Chinese telecom giant’s equipment will be completely removed from 5G networks by the end of 2027.

However, The Sun newspaper report said that the ministers in the British government have found it “absurd” to say no to a big company wanting to come to Britain.

The news comes amid Microsoft’s discussions with ByteDance to purchase TikTok’s operations in the US.

Earlier reports suggested that the talks were halted after the US President Donald Trump threatened to ban TikTok in the country over security concerns.

TikTok has faced allegations that it could share user data with the Chinese government. The company has denied such allegations.

Following a conversation between Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and the US President, Microsoft said it was prepared to continue talks to explore purchase of TikTok in the US.

Microsoft hopes to complete the discussion by September 15.

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