Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Lina Khan took aim at big technology companies in her first appearance before Congress as the agency’s head, saying online digital platforms are partly to blame for a surge in fraud reported by Americans during the pandemic. “Fraud has continued to surge,“ Khan said Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. ”One reason is that fraud today is supercharged by digital platforms where this conduct is tolerated and even promoted.”
The president has stacked his administration with crusaders who have spent their careers challenging corporate consolidation.
President Biden plans to appoint lawyer Jonathan Kanter as the head of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) antitrust division, the White House announced Tuesday, another sign of the administration’s intention to take on Big Tech. Kanter has been a favorite pick of progressive organizations pushing for the DOJ and Federal Trade Commission to do more to crack down on anticompetitive conduct, especially in the tech industry.
A unanimous 1974 Supreme Court decision said newspapers could not be forced to publish replies from politicians they had criticized.
The order also seeks to take aim at tech giants Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon by calling for greater scrutiny of mergers, “especially by dominant internet platforms, with particular attention to the acquisition of nascent competitors, serial mergers, the accumulation of data, competition by ‘free’ products, and the effect on user privacy.”
When the Judiciary Committee began approving a suite of bills on Wednesday, fault lines were exposed that could make final passage difficult.
Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen groups paid by Big Tech have tried to head off bipartisan support for six bills meant to undo the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
Without speaking a word or scratching a pen across paper, President Joe Biden drove up the pressure on Big Tech companies already smarting under federal and congressional investigations, epic antitrust lawsuits and near-constant condemnation from politicians of both parties.
The National Association of Broadcasters said a recent appeals court decision has established the precedent for commission authority to levy regulatory fees on Big Tech. NAB has been pushing the FCC to start charging Big Tech and other unlicensed spectrum users such a fee, as it does broadcasters and other FCC licensees and said it is now clear the FCC has the authority to make it happen.
The selection of legal scholar Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission is seen as signaling a tough stance toward tech giants Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple. Khan was sworn in as FTC chair just hours after the Senate confirmed her as one of five members of the commission on a 69-28 vote.
Technology companies’ blithe disregard for consumer desires is an outgrowth of decades of permissive or nonexistent government oversight. Regulators ought to consider how Big Tech’s monopoly power further empowers the companies to ignore their own customers, in part by gobbling up competitors that offer more consumer-friendly services. Whatever the outcome of the Arizona case, if Google and others are willing to continue offering users choices, they should also be willing to respect them.
A bipartisan group of House members introduced five bills targeting Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google.
President Biden still hasn’t named permanent leaders at the key agencies overseeing the tech and telecom industries, giving him a late start on confronting powerful U.S. companies. If Biden doesn’t move quickly, there won’t be enough time left for his administration to take on big targets and tackle thorny policy problems.
Facebook and Google lead the media industry as companies being most heavily targeted by the FTC, Congress and even the Biden Administration. The central question at the heart of scores of lawsuits files in the past year: Have companies such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft become too powerful, and do they exercise anticompetitive practices?
Never before have so many countries, including China, moved with such vigor at the same time to limit the power of a single industry.
The House Judiciary Committee lhas formally approved a report on monopoly power in digital marketplaces. The over 400-page document depicting ways that Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Facebook allegedly abuse their market power was approved on a 24-17 party-line vote.
Amazon’s defeat of a union organizing effort in Alabama on Friday was the latest setback for workers who have been clamoring to assert more control over the technology companies that depend on them — one that showed how Silicon Valley giants still have a major edge in determining where power resides in the modern economy.
While antitrust lawsuits and Capitol Hill hearings get headlines, Big Tech’s biggest threat in Washington may come from the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC is gearing up to flex its muscle, by both enforcing current rules and trying to draft new ones. And it may be able do so relatively quickly.
Lawmakers on Friday debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers collective bargaining power with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting the spotlight on a proposal aimed at chipping away at the power of Big Tech. At a hearing held by the House antitrust subcommittee, Microsoft’s president, Brad Smith, emerged as a leading industry voice in favor of the law. He took a divergent path from his tech counterparts, pointing to an imbalance in power between publishers and tech platforms.
Amazon executive Albert Cheng says the era of “T-commerce” — the sale of goods directly through TV screens — is finally dawning. In a panel hosted by the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Amazon Studios COO and co-head of television said the company has long sought to “leverage the reach of Prime Video and marry that with commerce.”
A U.S. bill being introduced Wednesday by U.S. lawmakers would make it easier for news organizations to negotiate collectively with platforms like Google and Facebook to get a better price for their content that serves up in search engines or news feeds. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Rep. David Cicilline are leading the bill.
Silicon Valley giants are drawing battle lines over personal data collection practices and targeted ads as the threat of regulation looms. As Apple presses ahead with plans to give users greater control over their privacy, companies like Facebook and Google have aligned themselves over the latter’s more measured approach to scaling back tracking features.
Australia’s bold move to force tech giants to start paying for the news appears to be reigniting U.S. efforts to hold Google and Facebook to account for the gloomy state of the local news industry. Momentum is building for a new version of a bipartisan bill first introduced in 2019 that would allow U.S. news publishers to band together to negotiate for payments by tech giants that link to their news content.
The House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee plans to hold a series of hearings on proposed bills to rein in “the rise and abuse of market power online” and adjust antitrust laws accordingly. Both Republicans and Democrats have concerns that antitrust laws were not nimble enough to capture Web giants’ efforts to buy start-up competitors before they became full-fledged competition and, importantly for antitrust law, before they triggered Hart Scott Rodino automatic antitrust reviews.
Analysts estimate that the tax will generate up to $250 million for schools in the state in the first year. It will also probably face fierce legal challenges.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) last week proposed an amendment to a budget bill that would prohibit the merger of some Big Tech companies by presumptively preventing any merger or acquisitions involving a “market-dominant online platform.” That would mean the dominant player would have to affirmatively show that a merger or purchase was not anticompetitive.
The incoming head of the Senate antitrust subcommittee favors broad changes as Democrats press the issue of perceived monopoly power.
Lawmakers say the attack on the Capitol has generated more support for tougher regulation of the industry.
President Biden’s nominee to serve as the secretary of Commerce, Gina Raimondo, said Tuesday a controversial law that provides tech companies a legal liability shield from third-party content posted on their platforms needs to be reformed.
Facebook and Amazon topped all other U.S. companies in federal lobbying expenditures last year, according to a Wall Street Journal analysis of the most recent disclosures. It was the second straight year they outspent all other companies, including stalwarts such as AT&T and Boeing.
Department of Justice Antitrust Chief Makan Delrahim said that if the government does not find a way to harness the massive market power of those platforms to democratic policies, the country risks “devastating outcomes for our civil democratic society.” He suggested one solution could be a new “public-private” agency, the Digital Markets Rulemaking Board, with the power to regulate edge providers like social media sites.
The encrypted messaging services have become the world’s hottest apps over the last week, driven by growing anxiety over the power of the biggest tech companies and privacy concerns.
We streamed, we Zoomed, we ordered groceries and houseplants online, we created virtual villages while navigating laptop shortages to work and learn from home. In many ways, 2020′s pandemic-induced isolation threw our dependence on technology into overdrive, snipping away at our real-life connections while bringing digital relationships to the fore. But for every life-changing Zoom, […]
Technology giants, such as Google, Facebook and Twitter, could face fines of billions of pounds if they fail to remove and limit the spread of harmful online content under U.K. government proposals unveiled on Tuesday. The government of Boris Johnson announced details of its proposed Online Harms Bill, first set in motion by then-Prime Minister Theresa May in the spring of 2019, which aims to tackle child abuse and sexual abuse imagery, terrorist materials, misinformation, and other digital content.
Big tech companies now exert huge influence over what stories get told. The message is clear: Be careful who you offend.
The halcyon days of an adoring Washington are unlikely to return for America’s tech companies when Biden takes the oath of office in January, with mounting legislative and regulatory challenges to the industry — including stronger enforcement of antitrust laws — nearly certain to outlast the tenure of President Donald Trump.
Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Alphabet rallied on Thursday ahead of earnings reports from the group of technology heavyweights that has helped keep Wall Street in positive territory this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic.