Lawmakers say the attack on the Capitol has generated more support for tougher regulation of social media companies
Many Democrats, as well as some Republicans, want to take on Big Tech with laws and regulations to address issues like market power, data privacy, and disinformation and hate speech. Those ambitions have only grown since the insurrection of Capitol Hill, with more members of Congress pointing to the power of the tech companies as the root cause of many problems. The growing talk of new federal laws adds to the industry’s many headaches. Facebook and Google are fighting federal and state regulators in court over allegations of anticompetitive conduct. Regulators continue to investigate Amazon and Apple over antitrust violations. President Joe Biden and his nominees for attorney general and commerce secretary have also promised to hold tech companies to account for the speech they host and to strengthen policing of competition violations.
In coming weeks, Sen Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) plans to introduce a bill aimed at limiting corporate monopoly power across the economy, with a particular eye on tech. The legislation would erect new hurdles for giant corporations trying to gobble up smaller competitors, preventing a repeat of deals like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram in 2012. The federal and state lawsuits against Facebook argue that the deal, which regulators did not object to at the time, eliminated competition that could have one day challenged the company’s dominance. The bill would also include roadblocks for acquisitions of “maverick” companies that present better offerings for consumers, in the way T-Mobile did before its merger with Sprint. And it would pump more money into the antitrust agencies.
Democratic Congress Prepares to Take On Big Tech