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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who ended Wednesday's hearing by saying some Big Tech companies need to be broken up, told Axios that Facebook in particular lacks significant competitors and should not have been allowed to buy Instagram and WhatsApp.

Why it matters: Cicilline chairs the antitrust subcommittee, which has been looking into competition issues in the digital space.

"Mr. Zuckerberg acknowledged in this hearing that his acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram were part of a plan to both buy a competitor and also maintain his money, power, or his dominance. That's classic monopoly behavior."
— Cicilline said on the "Axios Re:Cap" podcast

Cicilline's criticisms weren't limited to Facebook, pointing to the power Google and Amazon also hold in their respective markets.

  • "I think what we saw today was confirmation that these large technology platforms have enduring monopoly power," he said in the interview with Axios' Dan Primack.

The big picture: A key issue remains whether existing antitrust law is broad enough to address the modern tech industry, especially companies that provide their products at no direct charge to consumers.

  • "Congress is going to have to 'think outside the box' in a comprehensive way about what antitrust laws should look like in the 21st century," Neguse told Axios’ Ashley Gold after the hearing.

What's next: The committee plans to develop a set of recommendations and issue them in a final report as soon as late August, according to Cicilline.

You can listen to the podcast here.

Go deeper

Big Tech doesn't much care who wins

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The headaches facing the tech industry's giants won't change much whether Donald Trump remains in the White House or Joe Biden takes his place.

The big picture: Individuals in tech are as passionate and fingernail-biting about Tuesday's election as any other Americans. But the path ahead for the massive companies that have seized the industry's reins over the past decade will only alter incrementally based on the polls' outcome.

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The new Washington

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Axios subject-matter experts brief you on the incoming administration's plans and team.

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