Public opinion on big tech execs swung wildly after their day in Congress. Jeff Bezos is up, Sundar Pichai is down.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos speaks via video conference during a hearing of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on "Online Platforms and Market Power", in the Rayburn House office Building on Capitol Hill, in Washington, U.S., July 29, 2020.Graeme Jennings/Pool via REUTERS
  • Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were all questioned by Congress earlier this week.
  • Marketing agency SJR provided Business Insider with a look at people's attitudes online toward these tech CEOs before and after Wednesday's hearing.
  • Their results show that Pichai had the highest positive sentiment prior to the congressional hearing, but he was also the only CEO where positive sentiment decreased afterward.
  • Overall, negative sentiment increased for all four of these CEOs.

Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg were questioned, virtually, by Congress on Wednesday about antitrust issues.

The antitrust hearing comes after a yearlong investigation by Congress into the digital marketplace operations and competition. It is also the first time that all of them were questioned at the same hearing. This hearing is similar to the antitrust hearing with another tech giant Microsoft back in 1998.

Marketing agency SJR has been looking at online attitudes toward top CEOs with the help of social risk advisory firm ENODO Global during the pandemic. The firm gathered news articles and social media posts from across the internet to get a sense of whether attitudes towards those executives are mostly positive or mostly negative based on the language used in those posts. They recently shared with Business Insider an analysis comparing how people were feeling about the four tech executives in late May and early June to sentiments held after this week's congressional hearing.Advertisement

Of these four tech CEOs, the Alphabet CEO was the only one that had a drop in positive sentiment, while the other three CEOs experienced at least a slight increase. Positive sentiment declined by 12 percentage points for Pichai from 51% to 39% of the posts analyzed being mostly positive. However, positive sentiment rose by 15 percentage points for Bezos, who testified in front of Congress for the first time on Wednesday, from 37% to 52%. The following chart highlights the share of mostly positive articles and posts about these CEOs before and after the antitrust hearing.

Changes in negative sentiment varied, but all of the CEOs saw an increase after the hearing. Negative sentiment toward Zuckerberg only increased by two percentage points from 51% to 53% of analyzed articles and posts being mostly negative, while negative sentiment toward Bezos jumped by 16 percentage points from 28% to 44%. The following chart highlights the share of mostly negative articles and posts about these CEOs before and after the antitrust hearing.

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