Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg plans to use a congressional hearing Wednesday on the subject of tech monopolies to defend how big his social media company has become.
Zuckerberg will tell a House Judiciary subcommittee that the popular apps Instagram and WhatsApp are better off under the corporate umbrella of Facebook, despite calls for the government to break up the social giant, according to a copy of Zuckerberg’s prepared testimony released by the company on the eve of the hearing.
“Facebook has made Instagram and WhatsApp successful as part of our family of apps,” Zuckerberg said in the prepared testimony.
“Instagram and WhatsApp have been able to grow and operate their services using Facebook’s bespoke, lower-cost infrastructure and tackle spam and harmful content with Facebook’s integrity teams and technology.”
The topic of Instagram and WhatsApp is important because analysts and lawmakers including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., have called for Facebook to be required to sell off those apps. They have asked whether it’s a good idea for three of the most popular apps in the world for social media and communication to be owned by the same corporation.
Zuckerberg is one of four major tech CEOs scheduled to testify on Wednesday before a House antitrust subcommittee that is examining their power in the marketplace. Chairman David Cilline, D-R.I., has been investigating the tech industry for more than a year and is preparing a report on possible anti-competitive practices.
In prepared testimony of his own for the hearing, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos defended his company’s practices including its wages and benefits and said that, in business, a large size is sometimes necessary.
“I love garage entrepreneurs — I was one. But, just like the world needs small companies, it also needs large ones,” Bezos said. “There are things small companies simply can’t do. I don’t care how good an entrepreneur you are, you’re not going to build an all-fiber Boeing 787 in your garage.”
Bezos said that Amazon now directly employs 1 million people.
The two other CEOs scheduled to testify — Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai — have not yet released their prepared testimony.
Zuckerberg’s five pages of remarks also mention China, arguing that America’s major tech companies all share values such as democracy and free expression that China’s version of the internet does not share.
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012 in a deal that has since come to be seen as a bargain as Instagram has rocketed in cultural relevance and profitability. Facebook bought WhatsApp for $22 billion in 2014.
Zuckerberg said the end result of the three apps being together is better services to users and advertisers.
Ezra Kaplan contributed.