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Congress Is Not Equipped to Handle Big Tech

December 12, 2018 20:58 PM UTC
- Updated January 04, 2020 21:20 PM UTC

They’ve dropped the ball during several hearings.

Transcript
[ MUSIC ] Welcome to Fortune Tech Debate, where we debate the issues of the day in two minutes. Today, we're discussing big tech versus Congress. A number of top Silicon Valley CEOs from companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have submitted to government grillings recently. Lisa Marie, is Congress capable of taking on big tech? No, absolutely not. [ SOUND ] It's kind of laughable, how incapable they really are. At every single hearing, it's like a contest of who can show that they know the least. I'll definitely agree it's a contest- [ LAUGH ] That's very theatrical. But, democracy is all about theatrics. That's part of this whole thing. It's political theater. And I actually quite like it, you know, some people land points some people don't they totally fall flat on their faces, but in the end you get some resolution you get some new information from these hearings. Yeah, the thing about political theater though is usually they're supposed to show that they know what they're doing and that's just not happening here and I think at the end of the day since they are so unaware of what is happening big Tech. That's all it's going to be, theater and they're not actually going to take action. But what were some of the bad parts that you saw that show [ LAUGH ] people didn't know what they were talking about? One senator didn't know how Facebook made money. Senator, they run ads, as we all remember. Someone else thought that Google made iPhones, those are androids. You know, there's an endless list, they just don't seem to know anything about it. Someone thought Facemash was still around. It feels like they Prepared by like reading one article, maybe watching the social network and calling it a day. That's not great leadership. So my counterpart to this is that it's very easy to cherry pick and find examples of people, you know, just totally flubbing it. But you know, on the other hand, there are a bunch of examples of people who have asked very good, probing questions, that tech CEOs have not been able to provide answers for because they either A, don't know the answer or They're being kinda weasely and saying we'll follow up later with more detailed information from their executives. And so I think that this actually is a good process to get at the truth here. That's true. I don't wanna lump every single congressperson, and some of them are doing their research. The problem is there just aren't enough of them. And if they're going to take actual actions against these companies and make a change They need to do better. Well they've got the ultimate say. You know, they could end up enacting some privacy law and that would be a big problem for big tech. Anyway, time's up. Come to Fortune. com for more Tech Debate. [ MUSIC ] [ BLANK_AUDIO ]