📜 The U.S. House drops a 449-page takedown of Big Tech
|emily oleary||Oct 13, 2020|
What do you call the Congressional equivalent of a diss track?
Basically, it’s the report U.S. lawmakers just released about Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple last week. The report provides the sternest reminder yet that Uncle Sam wants drastic change at highest levels of tech.
The House spent 16 months on the report: And the members of Congress concluded that the Tech Big Four had turned into “the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons,” accusing them of dictating prices and rules for things like search, publishing and social networking.
Congress brought out the B-word, too: As in, breakup. They recommended breaking up the companies and amending antitrust law so it could actually get done.
Did Congress get carried away?: Shira Ovide, a well-known tech writer for The New York Times, found the uniform insistence that the companies engaged in monopolistic behavior to be “stunning.” “It felt overdone,” she wrote. “And there was little recognition of what the U.S. economy and people have gained from the success of these tech giants.”
The biggest caveat
As with anything in Washington, this report was partisan. Only Democrats lent their names to it, although Republicans have grilled tech companies in Congressional hearings in recent months.
Republicans may not endorse the same recommendations as Democrats yet, but experts say they still agree that Apple and Amazon et. al. have grown too powerful and that change is necessary. The NYT argues that this report marks the most significant attempt to reform tech since an antitrust case against Microsoft in the 90s.