The hearing, scheduled to take place July 27, comes against a backdrop of growing complaints about tech platforms that have dominated key economic sectors, and calls by some activists and politicians to break up the Silicon Valley giants.
Chief executives Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Tim Cook (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Sundar Pichai (Google) will be allowed to appear virtually if they wish, according to a joint statement released by Judiciary committee chairman Jerrold Nadler and Antitrust subcommittee chairman David Cicilline.
"Since last June, the subcommittee has been investigating the dominance of a small number of digital platforms and the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and enforcement," Nadler and Cicilline said.
"Given the central role these corporations play in the lives of the American people, it is critical that their CEOs are forthcoming."
Google and Facebook, which account for the bulk of digital global advertising revenue, provide free services that have become largely dominant in their sector – such as Google's search engine or its subsidiary, video-sharing platform YouTube.
Users' interactions with these products allow the companies to collect data profiles and sell highly targeted advertising space on a massive scale.
At Apple and Amazon, it is instead their sales platforms – the App Store on iPhones and iPads, or Amazon's e-commerce site – that are in the sights of sales representatives, since the two companies are both hosts and merchants.
Earlier this year, the US Justice Department said it was reviewing potential anticompetitive actions by major tech platforms, and attorneys general from the majority of US states have launched antitrust investigations of Google and Facebook. – Rappler.com