Members of the US House of Representatives have introduced five different bills that try to mitigate the power of the world’s largest technology companies in the biggest legal threat to Big Tech in recent years.
If passed, the proposals would be the biggest shock to the US monopoly law in a generation, curbing tech industry gains that have strengthened Facebook’s social media dominance, limited Apple, Amazon and Google’s ability to use their platforms. : prefer their own products.
“Unregulated technology monopolies are having a huge impact on our economy right now,” said David Cecilin, a Democratic chairman of the House Antimonopoly Subcommittee, when announcing the bills on Friday.
“Large technology companies are in a unique position to select winners, losers, destroy small businesses, raise consumer prices, and fire people,” he said.
For years, US politicians have promised to pass technology-related regulations, such as the Digital Privacy Bill, but have been hampered by a lack of bipartisan agreement.
Members of the House of Representatives who sign the five bills in favor include Democrats and Republicans, a sign of anger in both parties over global technology companies.
Ken Buck, the oldest Republican in the Antitrust Subcommittee, says: “Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google and Google have made it a priority to innovate, to harm American businesses and consumers in the process.”
The bills accept many of the recommendations made in the 448-page report published by the Sicily Subcommittee. last year, which accused all four companies of abusing their market power, withdrew from the hearings, including one attended by four CEOs. The report was signed only by Democrats, which means that the Republican members of Congress have changed their positions.
Details of the five bills
The first of five bills will stop companies from using their platforms to promote their products. Amazon has been particularly criticized for using its market-leading online store to give its products a major boost. Last year’s report showed that Amazon regularly uses third-party vendor data to help improve and sell its own product.
The second is to prevent potential competitors from buying large technology companies. The bill reflects the anger on Capitol Hill that Facebook was allowed to buy WhatsApp and Instagram, helping to strengthen its power on social media.
The third would stop companies that use their platforms և products to add other products of their own. Google, for example, has been accused of manipulating its search engine into its own product, such as Google Shopping, to highlight when those services did not typically rank high in Google search.
The fourth bill would make it easier for companies to get their data և online profiles և ported to another service.
The fifth will make it more expensive to file certain mergers by trying to give the Department of Justice և more money to the Federal Trade Commission to pursue enforcement action.
If passed by the House of Representatives, the main obstacle to becoming a bill would be the Senate, where Republicans have enough votes to draft new legislation. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is generally regarded as a big business supporter, but says relatively little Big Tech,
Neil Bradley, chief policy officer of the US Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement: “Bills aimed at specific companies, instead of focusing on business practices, are just bad policies, completely unfair, and can be considered unconstitutional.”
Google declined to comment. Facebook, Apple and Amazon have not responded to requests to do so.
Additional Report by Hannah Murphy, Richard Waters, Dave Lee և Patrick McGee