The Wednesday of July 29th will become a historical date, for the grilling that tech giants like Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon are about to get will be unprecedented. In fact, the event has taken such a high priority in the calendar that Facebook has decided to postpone the announcement of its second quarter earnings to July 30th, a day later than usual, to let Mark Zuckerberg’s hearing before the court become the highlight of the day.
The US Congress is gearing up to make sure that tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook are held accountable for their actions, especially those that affect their competition; and that is exactly what the hearing will be about. Antitrust activities will be at the centre of the hearing, where the government institution plans to interrogate the concerned parties for premeditatedly stopping smaller platforms from gaining significant momentum.
CEOs from all the 4 companies, including Sundar Pichai, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook and the already mentioned Mark Zuckerberg will appear before the Congress and answer tough questions to make sure that no company is engaging in anti competitive practices. Each one on this panel, except Bezos, has already faced the Congress before.
Facebook’s ‘Patriotic’ plan for the meeting
According to Bloomberg, Facebook has a clear plan of action for this meeting-exploit the anti China sentiment in the country, and project the growth of Facebook as an American success story; relying on feelings of patriotism to prevent scrutiny of anti competitive practices. Zuckerberg will reportedly make the case that hindering the success of American platforms like Facebook, will only serve Chinese apps, and the growing popularity of platforms like TikTok is already a cause for alarm.
The question of Facebook’s growing catalogue, and the acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp will undoubtedly come into question. The CEO plans to prove that the success of these platforms wasn’t predetermined, and when the company acquired Instagram back in 2013, it had just 13 employees. WhatsApp, to this day, does not charge anything from its users or serve ads.
Mark Zuckerberg has spent years trying to get Facebook to Chinese people, jumping through hoops to appease the government formed by CCP. However, the rejection has surely left a bitter taste in his mouth, leading him to levy such harsh critique for the country and its platforms.
What the Q2 report might look like
Mark has already appeared before the Congress once before, when his company was accused of meddling with the presidential elections in 2016. His testimony became a turning point for the social media platform, at least in theory, and led to the company making swift changes in its privacy policies.
Speaking of privacy policies, Facebook is also being scrutinized by the very public it hopes to serve, facing allegations of being a toothless tiger when it comes to political figures. The company is hoping to establish a new entity that will surveil its policies, and work to gain back the trust of people.
However, all this uproar has caused a massive backlash from the business world as well, with multinational corporations like Verizon, Starbucks, Coca Cola and many more banning Facebook for ad serving purposes. For a platform that depends on ads for a lot of its revenue, this is not a good thing, and will probably reflect in the results being published on 30th.
However, 2020 is also the year of the presidential elections, and that means that Facebook has the chance to make a lot of money through political ads, which it has been serving for a long time now. Will the effect of the ad campaign being run by political candidates make up for the absence of MNCs? The answer will become clear on 30th.