Big Tech reboot – time to stop further consolidations, revive competition and promote free speech

Emily Compagno: ‘Facebook’s re-branding is putting lipstick on a pig’

The ‘Outnumbered’ panel reacts to Facebook renaming the company to Meta, says the re-brand doesn’t change the turbulent few months the tech giant has had.

Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple are monopolistic technology corporations that dominate a greater market share in their fields than any similar firms in American history. 

While size alone isn’t a problem, these firms have used their extraordinary wealth and power to buy up rivals, stifle competition and muzzle speech that they oppose. This harms Americans, and that’s why I have joined with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to introduce the Competition and Opportunity Act, which would stop the further consolidation of these tech giants.

Google controls more than 90% of the search market, Amazon controls 80% of the e-book market and a huge share of cloud services, Facebook controls a majority of social media, and Apple – along with Google – share total control of the App Store market. 

These companies have acquired this extraordinary level of power, in part, by consuming and combining with their major competitors. Google bought YouTube, Facebook acquired Instagram and WhatsApp, and Apple bought Intel’s smartphone business.

In 2012, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged that Instagram was a “threat” before he purchased the company and stated in an email that “one thing about startups is you can often acquire them.” This kind of statement is rare, but the anti-competitive spirit motivating it is rampant in Silicon Valley. 

These companies, once spritely startups themselves, know the potentially disruptive effects of new firms – and they will snuff out burgeoning new competitors whenever and wherever they can.

These tech giants have abused their power, are harming consumers and in some cases illegitimately cutting off access to suppliers. Amazon is disappearing books and documentaries it finds distasteful, Facebook is censoring social media content it dislikes, and Google is obscuring search results it finds objectionable. In almost all cases this translates into left-wing Silicon Valley extremists censoring conservative Americans. 

This bill is specifically targeted to address the unique threat posed by these specific monopolies. 

If these firms had a smaller market share, their censorship wouldn’t be as harmful, but due to their domination of their respective sectors, they can effectively constrain freedom of speech, thought and expression. This is unacceptable.

The Competition and Opportunity Act would staunch the further consolidation of these technology monopolies. It would require Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple to prove that future acquisitions will not contribute to, or sustain, their dominant market shares. This would end any anti-competitive mergers or combinations by the tech monopolies going forward.

This bill is specifically targeted to address the unique threat posed by these specific monopolies. It will not restrict acquisitions by any other firms and will not become a burdensome regulation for the industry.

Some critics have expressed concern that this law could take away opportunities for smaller tech firms that want to combine with one of these tech monopolies. However, the fact is that these large tech firms account for less than 1% of technology acquisitions.  

The vast majority of deals will not be affected. The deals that will be affected are the deals that matter – purchases that could contribute to expanded monopolies.

Technology companies are not inherently evil or malicious, and it is natural for successful businesses to continue to expand. However, when any set of corporations reach this level of power and engage in such pervasive anti-competitive behavior, it poses a threat to the free market system. 

As our nation decides how to deal with these behemoth tech titans, we must first stop them from crushing new competitors. Passage of the Competition and Opportunity Act is a necessary and essential first step.

Source: Read Full Article