Congress takes aim at Google search in antitrust hearing

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The Senate Judiciary Committee met to discuss tech companies unfairly favoring their own products. And Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) announced the "Anticompetitive Exclusionary Conduct Prevention Act" to limit “exclusionary conduct” where a big company locks out smaller competitors, among other changes to antitrust law. It increases the burden of proof on monopolists to prove they’re not suppressing competition, and it discourages courts from granting immunity from antitrust enforcement. “We have a major monopoly problem in this country, which harms consumers and threatens free and fair competition across our economy,” she said. “Companies need to be put on notice.”

But she promoted it during a Senate hearing on digital platforms, one of several events sparked by the backlash against large tech companies. The hearing covered the tactic of self-preferencing — where a company uses dominance in one area to privilege its other services, whether or not they’re the best option for consumers. “Depending on the circumstances, these types of practices can have a devastating effect of competition,” said Klobuchar. Much of the hearing focused on Google search — a particular sore spot for antitrust proponents.

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