Conservative groups press for votes on three anti-Big Tech bills
Conservative groups press for votes on three anti-Big Tech billsChristopher Hutton
July 21, 07:00 AM July 21, 07:15 AM
A coalition of conservative organizations is calling on Congress to vote for three antitrust bills in hopes of reining in Big Tech companies.
The coalition, led by the Internet Accountability Project, called in a Thursday letter for Congress to vote in favor of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, Open App Markets Act, and State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act.
“Anticompetitive behavior by these trillion-dollar companies has wide-ranging and devastating consequences for small businesses and the American public at large,” the letter reads. “As the digital application marketplace has become dominated by just a few giant corporations, smaller companies who attempt to compete with their products are completely at their mercy. As we have seen, these behemoths can quickly join forces to effectively eliminate their competition by removing them from their platforms and cutting them off from their audiences.”
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The coalition sent the letter to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Senate Majority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), and House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and specifically called out “Big Tech’s unbalanced enforcement of arbitrary content moderation policies.”
The letter was signed by the IAP, as well as executives from GETTR, American Mind, the Bull Moose Project, and the Claremont Institute Center for the American Way of Life.
The letter notes the decision by Amazon, Apple, and Google to remove the alternative social network Parler from their app stores temporarily within 24 hours as an example of anti-competitive behavior. The letter also noted the 14-day suspension of Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN) in Feb. 2022 for “targeted misgendering or deadnaming of transgender individuals” and Twitter’s decision to censor the New York Post‘s story about Hunter Biden’s laptop as examples of how the companies implement bans in accordance with their “ideological leanings.”
The authors also note Amazon’s practice of preferring its own products over those of its competitors, a practice that has drawn the attention of antitrust regulators in the United States and Europe. The company appears to be decreasing the number of private-label products it sells on its market platform, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The coalition pushes back on Facebook’s and Google’s claims that breaking them up is a “national security risk” and argues that they have been colluding with U.S. rivals, including Russia and China.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, filed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would authorize the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice to challenge major tech platforms preferring their own products. Amazon has been critical of these policies, arguing that they would lead to the end of popular services like Amazon Prime free shipping.
Other industry groups have argued that the bill’s phrasing is overly broad and would be more harmful to consumers than initially intended.
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The Open App Markets Act, which moved out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in March 2022, would allow app developers to sell their products to consumers without the specific restrictions or transaction fees that app stores implement and allow transactions within the app without having to go through the platform.
The State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act would change the law so that states have the same venue selection rights as federal regulators and prevent the transfer of lawsuits involving a state to multidistrict litigation.