Six antitrust bills have recently passed through the House Judiciary Committee targeting the far-reaching power of Big Tech including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The committee recently advanced the sixth bill, which had the broadest implications for tech companies. Two Republicans voted to advance the bill while four Democrats were opposed.
The six bills intend to stop tech giants from buying out rising competitors, forbid tech companies from giving their own products and services preferences over competitors, and enable federal regulators to break up large tech companies over “irreconcilable conflict of interest.”
The committee spent the first hours of the hearing discussing the two least controversial bills — a measure that would update merger filing fees, and another that deals with venues for antitrust suits brought by state attorneys general.
All of the bill’s measures could present trouble for large e-commerce marketplaces where they also compete as a seller of their own goods. Google, for example, ranks videos in its search engine while also running the video platform, YouTube.
There have also been political issues raised at the hearings, such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos also owning the progressive newspaper The Washington Post. Lawmakers argued that these Big Tech lobbying efforts present deceptive practices to the American voters.
In a letter sent by 13 different think tanks, they tried to warn House Members that these antitrust bills would “dramatically degrade” the gadgets we use today. But, of course, every single organization that signed the letter is in question with the bills being presented today. While Republicans are raising serious concerns about Big Tech’s abusive practices, Democrats have their eyes set on transforming the economy. The political bias has been evident in social media’s attempt to silence conservative speech.
Another alternative in free-market competition is for conservatives to leave the platforms and start their own, which former president Donald Trump has teased about doing. He currently runs a blog and has promised his own social media network soon. Parler, another conservative-friendly platform, has also made some noise trying to get back into App Stores after multiple bans regarding the Capitol riot.
And now, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google Affairs VP Kent Walker have made calls to congressional Democrats not to pass this series of antitrust bills. They argued that there would be “dire consequences” if these ideas become law. They said it would affect hundreds of thousands of American small-and-medium-sized businesses that sell in their stores.
“American consumers and small businesses would be shocked at how these bills would break many of their favorite services,” said Google’s top lobbyist, Mark Isakowitz.
Big Tech hasn’t stopped flooding the markets. There’s also Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg who spent $500 million to “fund” the 2020 election. He could probably do the same for a dozen members of Congress.
There have been recent attempts for Big Media lobbyists, such as those for USA Today and the New York Times, who have pushed for the Journalism Competition and Preservation Act, a law that would allow big media companies to get special treatment and handouts from tech companies.
Too much control of any segment of our economy is dangerous. Big Tech is nothing but bribes and payoffs to do whatever they want with the market. If you don’t think they have power, just look at their tax statements.