📗 How did the federal government’s Big Tech legal issues begin?

It seems like just yesterday Washington politicians were fawning over Mark Zuckerburg and the late Steve Jobs. Now, Big Tech reform is almost the lone policy that seems to have bipartisan support. How did everything get so contentious?

  • The blame started several years ago: Many people point to the 2016 election and the Russian bots that went with it as the start of Big Tech’s skepticism era. But longtime tech writer Cecilia Kang told the NYT it was already starting, with politicians disfavoring the power they believed Facebook and Twitter had over “the exchange of ideas.”

  • Now, Dems and Republicans cheered the Google antitrust lawsuit: And a liberal and conservative lawmakers have talked about Apple and Amazon having too much power. 

  • The bipartisan part has to do with antitrust history: Antitrust laws have long been seen as technical and bipartisan, according to Kang.

Could Big Tech have avoided federal lawsuits and scrutiny?

Kang says probably not. With a stock market value of $5 trillion between Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook, their sheer size was bound to attract scrutiny at some point. 

The Verdict

Plenty of people have argued the Google antitrust suit is a political move. But Kang says the action could be both political and done on the merits. She expects the antitrust suit to continue, regardless of who wins the election.