Tech giants Apple and Twitter will be partners in separate Democratic presidential candidate debates scheduled for the first two months of 2020.
Apple News will partner with ABC and WMUR-TV for the January 14 debate in Des Moines, Iowa, and Twitter will be a partner for the February 25 debate in Charleston, South Carolina, as reported by Axios.
This will be Apple’s first time hosting a debate. In the past, Twitter hosted a Democratic debate in 2015, and Google hosted a Republican debate in 2016. Facebook has also previously co-hosted debates in 2012 and 2016.
There will be something of a conflict of interest at play: Big Tech companies like Apple and Twitter will host Democratic candidates who have openly expressed their desire to break up Big Tech.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has been the most vocal about her stance on big tech and made a call to break the companies up a part of her presidential campaign. Warren’s proposal would explicitly break up bigger companies, like forcing Amazon to give up control of Whole Foods and splitting Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that a Warren presidency would pose an “existential” threat to the social media platform.
Other Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and entrepreneur Andrew Yang are calling for more regulation of big tech.
In November, Sanders slammed Apple for entering the real estate lending business, referring to the company as a “corporate tax evader” in a statement.
Yang also has thoughts on Big Tech, and like Warren, thinks tech companies have too much power.
“Big Tech companies are the winners of the 21st-century economy. They’ve amassed too much power, largely profiting from our personal data, and unaccountable responsibility — we have reached a point where the government needs to step in,” Yang wrote on his campaign website’s blog.
The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee also began an investigation into the four Big Tech firms in July to determine if these companies and other large platforms prevent outside competition or if they hurt consumers.
Digital Trends reached out to Apple and Twitter to find out more information on their involvement with the debates, and we’ll update this story once we hear back.
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