US lawmakers propose sweeping antitrust overhaul of Big Tech

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Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo: File)

Raft of bills enjoys bipartisan support from Democrats and Republicans

US lawmakers unveiled sweeping antitrust measures aimed at tempering the dominance of Big Tech firms in what may be the most ambitious effort in decades to break corporate monopolies.

A bipartisan group of House members introduced five separate bills that propose changes so comprehensive they could reshape the largest US technology and entertainment companies and force an overhaul of their business practices.

In a bid to ward off corporate consolidation, the measures would make it harder for mega-companies – like Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and Google – to buy out smaller competitors and could facilitate the breakup of firms that use their dominant position in their core business to make deep inroads into another.

“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” the House Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee chairman David Cicilline, a Democrat, said.

“They are in a unique position to… destroy small businesses… and put folks out of work,” he said, adding that the goal is to ensure that powerful tech companies follow the same rules as other businesses.

Silicon Valley giants have come under increasing fire in Europe and the United States due to concerns about monopoly-like power, especially as they appear to have increased their dominance during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Big Tech has abused its dominance in the marketplace to crush competitors, censor speech, and control how we see and understand the world,” said House Republican Ken Buck.

“Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google have prioritized power over innovation and harmed American businesses and consumers in the process.”

The Computer & Communications Industry Association, of which Google, Amazon, and Facebook are members, warned that the latest legislation is too “interventionist.”

(i24 News).

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