Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

A Preview of Wednesday’s Big Tech Antitrust Hearing

Om Malik:

The big tech is going through the great American ritual — the making of stars, the praise of the stars, and then the tearing down of the stars. We do it to our celebrities. We do it to our sports stars. And we do it to our technology companies. It is not a judgment on the cause or the punishment. I am merely pointing out the pattern of our media-saturated society. We may not manufacture a lot of things in America, but we produce new heroes and newer villains quite well in America.

At some point, we sour on the success we once celebrated. That is why we have this constant need for new heroes. Frankly, we could use some new heroes in technology. It is hard to romanticize the big tech. It was not always that way.

Kevin Roose:

Gotta love the ultra-earnest people who are like “I hope Congress delves into neo-Brandeisian antitrust theory during tomorrow’s Big Tech hearing.” We will be lucky if we escape without Alex Jones zoombombing in a Captain Shadowban costume.

I don’t know that I agree with Malik’s assertion that it is entirely a waste of time to bring CEOs of four of the biggest tech companies to Washington — metaphorically, if not literally — to answer questions. But he’s right: it’s a manufactured event. Everyone there is wholly aware that they are on camera, so expect the usual grandstanding and loaded questions from those with ulterior motives, mixed with tech support complaints. Maybe we will learn something from the handful of representatives who are genuinely inquisitive and attentive.

Testimony from the four CEOs is available on Congress’ website. Of them, only Sundar Pichai’s matches his company’s branding. Jeff Bezos’ is typeset in Calibri, while Mark Zuckerberg and Tim Cook chose Times. For some reason, Cook’s is a scanned copy of a printed document.