A group of bipartisan House members recently introduced legislation to break up Big Tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. In a joint press release, the lawmakers said that the bill will aim to “expand opportunities for consumers, workers, and small business owners by holding unregulated Big Tech monopolies accountable for anti-competitive conduct.”
While the bills have support from both Republicans and Democrats, they add that Big Tech self-regulation will come at the direct expense of local communities and free press. “From Amazon and Facebook to Google and Apple, it is clear that these unregulated tech giants have become too big to care and too powerful to ever put people over profits,” said Rep. Jayapal, a member of the House Antitrust Subcommittee.
The five bills include The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, The Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act, and the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act. The bills would restrict self-preference, market power, leverage across multiple business lines, promote competition and enforce antitrust laws.
Rep. Ken Buck said that Big Tech has “abused its dominance” in the online marketplace to crush competitors, censor speech, and control how we see and understand the world. If passed, these bills could break up the companies altogether or make them conform to new antitrust laws.
Rep. David Cicilline, chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, said that the agenda of the bills will level the playing field to ensure that the wealthiest and most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us. He said it will redistribute power over the economy and restrict Big Tech from being able to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work. It would give antitrust enforces more powerful tools to open up the digital market for competition.
Rep. Cicilline is also leading the investigation into companies like Google and how they boost their own products in search results and Apple doing the exact same thing in its App Store. The Justice Department or the Federal Trade Commission could force companies to break off anything that creates a “conflict of interest.” They could also block large companies from buying up smaller competitors, such as how Facebook did with Instagram back in 2012.
Top Republicans have also argued that breaking up Big Tech would counter unfair censorship around conservative voices. Rep. Lance Gooden said that the social media companies have violated consumers’ privacy and said that they must preserve the constitutional right for all Americans to have a voice online.
Since these bills have bipartisan support, it is likely that they will make it out of the House and sent it to the Senate to change the tech industry as we know it. The proposed bills are collectively called “A Stronger Online Economy: Opportunity, Innovation, and Choice.” If Big Tech companies want to regulate speech and content, then they should be treated as utilities and held to the same standards as such.
Big tech spent all that money to get Democrats back in power and now the Dems are trying to take them over.