House Oversight Committee discusses Big Tech participation in Brazil’s payments market

big tech The Brazilian House Oversight Committee. Photo: Alan Rones/CD
The Brazilian House Oversight Committee. Photo: Alan Rones/CD

The Brazilian House Oversight Committee scheduled for Tuesday afternoon a public hearing to discuss the role of Big Tech in Brazil’s payments market. 

Per Congressman Aureo Ribeiro of Rio de Janeiro, who requested the meeting, the committee’s attention was piqued due to the “apparent inertia of the Brazilian authorities” in the face of “anti-competitive practices” by companies such as Google, Apple, and Meta (the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp). 

The hearing’s agenda features issues such as the mounting pressure that Apple and Google are facing from regulators around the world to abandon the exclusivity of processing payments for digital items and subscriptions offered through their platforms, and the allegedly abusive commissions they earn from that.

After rulings in South Korea and legal disputes in the U.S. with companies like Fortnite’s creator Epic Games, Europe’s Digital Markets Act has been approved by the EU parliament, opening the door to Apple changing its policies and allowing competing iOS app stores. And the discussion is gaining ground in Brazil. 

For now, only representatives of consumer protection entities or payment companies’ associations are confirmed at the committee hearing, which will be held online.

Big Tech has dodged participating in these discussions. Last week, for example, during a public hearing on the “Fake News Bill,” legislators invited Frances Haugen, a former executive of Facebook and whistleblower, to hear her thoughts on the proposal. No one from Meta was present.

In 2021, Ms. Haugen’s internal documents leaked to The Wall Street Journal triggered the so-called Facebook Files.