House Dems admit tech giants abuse their ‘tremendous power’
WASHINGTON D.C., October 8, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) Following a 16-month investigation into Big Tech monopolies, House Democrats have detailed abuse of power by Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Google. In a lengthy report, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee offered proposals to curb tech companies’ powers and strengthen antitrust laws.
“To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” the report stated.
It concluded that these “gatekeeper” companies “wield their dominance in ways that erode entrepreneurship, degrade Americans’ privacy online, and undermine the vibrancy of the free and diverse press.”
“By controlling access to markets, these giants can pick winners and losers throughout our economy. They not only wield tremendous power, but they also abuse it by charging exorbitant fees, imposing oppressive contract terms, and extracting valuable data from the people and businesses that rely on them.”
The first of the report’s recommendations aim to restore digital competition through “prohibitions of certain dominant platforms from operating in adjacent lines of business,” “prohibiting dominant platforms from engaging in self- preferencing,” and “requiring due process protections for individuals and businesses dependent on the dominant platforms.”
The report also recommends strengthening antitrust laws and their enforcement.
According to NPR, these recommendations could lead to “radical” changes for the companies. “They could, for example, restrict Amazon from selling its own products in its marketplace, in direct competition with sellers who depend on the platform.”
The House Judiciary Committee’s investigation into the “tech giants,” which began in June 2019, involved interviews with “hundreds of rivals and business clients of the platforms.”
While both parties conducted the investigation and have found common ground in its findings, some Republicans are dissatisfied by the report’s failure to address anti-conservative censorship by the tech companies.
‘The consequences here extend far beyond politics’
“We’re starting to see some bipartisanship in concern over the concentration of power. That’s one of the encouraging things,” Jon Schweppe, Director of Government Affairs for the American Principles Project, told LifeSiteNews.
Schweppe advised, however, to “proceed with caution,” noting that with regard to the antitrust efforts, motivation is key.
“I think there is a real push among Democrats to have total control over how platforms regulate content. I think the platforms are trying to appease the Democrats with their aggressive removal of conservative content lately. But that will become the norm if Democrats get their way. So that is concerning.”
“Our number one concern with these platforms having such outsized power and absolute control is over the flow of information. So take Google for example, their ability to drive election results. Robert Epstein – he works with the Media Research Center – basically implied that Google is going to change millions of votes with their interference. That far eclipses anything the Russians did in 2016.”
Schweppe said that other concerns about the size of the tech giants – for example, whether they are healthy for a free market – “should be subordinated to the first concern” about the flow of information.
“I think the consequences here extend far beyond politics. [Big Tech] are also impacting the culture, they’re impacting the way everyone thinks, and they’re impacting our decision-making. And that’s really scary, especially on the issue of life,” said Schweppe.
LifeSiteNews has launched a new series called Uncensored: Big Tech vs. Free Speech, which explores ongoing censorship of conservatives and what ordinary people can do about it.