A bipartisan lawmakers’ group in the US House of Representatives introduced five bills on June 11 targeting to limit the power of tech giants. The drafting of bills happened after an investigation of 16 months into the powers of Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. The draft addresses the topics including mergers, data, and the competitive behavior of all these companies. It will ultimately result in forcing them to sell some of the assets. However, there is not unanimous support for the bills aiming at big tech.
Bills that target certain companies, instead of emphasizing business practices, are a bad policy and could be ruled unconstitutional, said Neil Bradley from the US Chamber of Commerce. Before sending to the House Floor, the bills are going to be referred to the House Judiciary Committee. The bill to become a law, needs to be passed through the House of Representatives, through the Senate, and ultimately to be signed by US President Joe Biden.
More Information about the Bills
The co-sponsor of the bills, David Cicilline, and the Democratic chair of the Anti-trust Panel wrote a breakdown of the bills on Twitter which says that it will strengthen the laws to hold tech companies’ monopolies accountable and will create a stronger online economy. The bills include the American Choice and Innovation Online Act to prevent organizations from manipulating marketplaces for promoting their own products. Further, the 2021 Platform Competition and Opportunity Act will make it difficult for companies to purchase and kill off competitors. The bill also consists of Ending Platform Monopolies Act that will restrict Big Tech monopolies from selling their products in marketplaces they control.
Furthermore, the bill makes it easy to leave a social media platform and taking your data to a competitor as per the ACCESS Act of 2021. The Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act allows the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice all the resources they require to police the monopoly powers with no additional cost to taxpayers.
Two of the bills reflect the issue of big companies like Amazon and Google for creating a platform for several other businesses and then again competing against the same businesses.
The president of the advocacy group Public Citizen, Robert Weisman, said that the big technology companies’ unchecked expansion and dominance have resulted in incredible abuses of power and has hurt many consumers, small businesses, workers, and innovation. The unchecked power got its end now.