GAFA CEOs Testify Before US House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust: The AdTech Parts

Monopoly Walled Gardens in AdTech Edition


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On July 29, 2020, the CEOs of Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon (GAFA) testified before the House Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law.

The topic of the hearing was “Online Platforms and Market Power, Part 6: Examining the Dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google.”

The hearing lasted for more than 5 hours and included many topics not typically associated with antitrust law, such as China, content moderation, and email spam. 

But there were a number of topics connected to AdTech, digital advertising, and user privacy. 

So we’ve put together a shorter version of the hearing that focuses on those topics.

The CEOs of GAFA Testify Before Congress Antitrust Subcommittee — July 29, 2020

To watch the full hearing and testimonies from all CEOs, click here

The timestamps of topics covered in our video:

00:20: What would happen if Google had to split up YouTube and its AdTech products? 

00:47: Google and Facebook capture the vast majority of digital ad revenue and profit off content from news publishers. 

2:16: Does Google Chrome’s decision to turn off support for third-party cookies place it in the same position as other AdTech companies? Even without third-party cookies, is Google able to still collect user data from its other properties?

4:05: Google stops allowing third-party AdTech companies from buying YouTube inventory. 

6:28: Google’s conflict of interest with its AdX ad exchange and the fact that it owns demand-side and supply-side platforms.

11:15: The purchase of DoubleClick and the destruction of user privacy. “More user data means more money.”

11:08: Google stops allowing independent AdTech companies to export the DoubleClick ID and Google’s digital ad market share increased since the implementation of the GDPR.

18:12: Google’s conflict of interest with organic search results and paid search ads. 

19:32: YouTube collecting data on children and showing them targeted ads. 

23:22: Facebook’s digital surveillance of users and competitors via its trackers, Like buttons, login, and APIs. 

24:04: In 2004, Facebook said they wouldn’t use cookies to collect private information from any user, and apparently they still don’t. “Do you use cookies?”

26:07: “PUT YOUR MASK ON!”

Testimony Highlights

Here are some other highlights from the testimonies of the 4 tech CEOs.

Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of, Inc.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc.

Stacking the Tech: Has Google harmed competition in online advertising? — September 15, 2020

On September 15, 2020, the US subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights heard the testimonies from a number of witnesses:

  • Mr. Donald Harrison, President, Global Partnerships and Corporate Development at Google.
  • Mr. Adam Heimlich, Chief Executive Officer at Chalice Custom Algorithms.
  • Mr. David Dinielli, Senior Advisor, Beneficial Technology at Omidyar Network.
  • Mr. Carl Szabo, Vice President and General Counsel at Netchoice.

Investigation of Competition in Digital Markets (Report)

On Tuesday, October 6, 2020, the US House Judiciary subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights released a 451-page report of its findings into the anticompetitive practices of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple. 

You can read a summary provided by AdExchanger here

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