🗞️ Hey Google, What's "Collusion"?
This Week: Big Tech faces collusion charges, the Pharma Bro gets a permanent ban, and Ohio is redrawing the map. Plus, what athletes can teach about performance anxiety, and how a new bill could rewrite terms of service.
A new antitrust complaint has been filed against Facebook and Google, two months after an initial antitrust case was brought against the tech giants. The original suit, filed by a coalition of state attorneys general, alleges the two companies colluded to limit price bidding of online ads.
According to November's complaint, Google and Facebook began colluding in 2018 and called their joint effort "Jedi Blue". This new complaint adds that Google CEO Sundar Pichai as well as Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg all had knowledge of the collusion, says The Verge.
As eMarketer notes, Google and Facebook controlled over 52 percent of the online ad market in 2021.
Both companies have denied the allegations, and Google stated that it is “full of inaccuracies” reports Politico, yet email records show that Pichai personally signed off on the deal while Sandberg emailed Zuckerberg that Jedi Blue would be “a big deal strategically.”
Mounting Antitrust Momentum
Facebook and Google, along with the rest of the FAANG cohort (Apple, Amazon, and Netflix), have increasingly become the targets of federal antitrust claims and a bipartisan effort to break up their monopolies. In fact, as Google is staring down this antitrust case, the LA Times says the search engine powerhouse is lobbying the Senate to back off an antitrust bill.
It's one thing to claim that you receive too many emails a day to notice which ones detail a major price colluding scheme. It's another thing when the email record shows you personally responded to the plan.
Infamous Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli can never work in the pharmaceutical industry again. So said a federal judge in ruling last week. Shkreli, who remains in prison for securities fraud, was also ordered to repay upwards of $64 million in profits he made off raising the price of the drug Daraprim over 5400%.
“Banning an individual from an entire industry and limiting his future capacity to make a living in that field is a serious remedy and must be done with care and only if equity demands,” US district judge Denise Cote wrote in his ruling, notes The Guardian.
Kevin Mulleady, then-CEO of Daraprim's maker Vyera, has settled to not work in the pharmaceutical industry for 7 years, and will face a $250,000 if he does, according to NPR.
No Bail Over Bounty
During the 2016 presidential race, Hillary Clinton singled Shkreli out for his crimes, which then led the disgraced hedge fund manager to call for a bounty on a "follicle" of her hair. Shkreli posted to Facebook “$5,000 but the hair has to include a follicle. Do not assault anyone for any reason ever (LOLIBERALS).” The post was later deleted, but Shkreli lost bail as a result.
Shkreli has always been an easy scapegoat for issues way beyond himself, however, it doesn't appear the rest of the pharmaceutical industry or any big money investors are paying attention to his fate.
The Ohio Supreme Court has tossed out a congressional map it deemed gerrymandered. The proposed districts would have given Republicans a 12-seat to 3 advantage over Democrats, despite them securing little more than 50 percent of votes in recent elections. “This is not what Ohio voters wanted or expected,” ruled the court, notes the New York Times.
State lawmakers have 30 days to redraw the map, or the duty is handed over to a redistricting commission.
Attacking The Vote
Ohio's case is playing out against the backdrop of a larger fight over the Vote in this country. Democrats in the US Senate are working to strike down the filibuster in order to pass voting rights legislation that aims to counter various gerrymandering and voter restriction laws being put into place by Republicans in various states.
Ohio's ruling is a success for capital-D Democracy, but the fate of the Vote cannot be determined on a state by state basis in the hopes that it'll survive.
📤 What Else We're Forwarding
Too Long Didn't Sign: A proposed bipartisan bill is seeking to make terms of service for websites and mobile apps easier to read and understand, according to CNET. The so-called TLDR Bill would end the practice of blanket agreements in exchange for access to service.
Under Pressure: Can athletes teach lawyers about performance anxiety? According to the ABA Journal, Naomi Osaka, Simon Biles, and other elite competitors demonstrate certain traits that can help attorneys function better under stress.
🎧 Music We’re Working To
Today we’re listening to Iasos, a Greek-born new-age musician based out of the Bay area. He released his first, and most-acclaimed album in 1978, Angelic Music, largely introducing the "new age" genre of music. His inspiration for the album came when he was studying anthropology at Cornell, and started hearing music in his head which he referred to as "paradise music". Reminiscent of ambient music, his songs consist of peaceful chords that ebb and flow in a natural, nearly dreamlike rhythm.
Angelic Music - Iasos (60m, no vocals)
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