Elizabeth Warren Wants to Break Up Amazon, Facebook, and Google

Scott Olson  Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign rally at the Stone Cliff Winery

Scott Olson Getty ImagesSen. Elizabeth Warren speaks at a campaign rally at the Stone Cliff Winery

Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren raised concerns about tech companies becoming too powerful in a speech in NY.

Under the MA senators' plan, companies with more than $25 billion in annual global revenue would have to "structurally separate" their products and marketplace, while those companies between $90 million and $25 billion in revenue would face regulations but would not have separate their operations. For instance, her plan would unwind Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods, and Google's purchase of Waze.

In a post on Medium, the Massachusetts Democrat said today's big tech companies have too much power over the economy, our society and our democracy.

The senior United States senator and a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination said the companies had "bulldozed competition and tilted the playing field in their favour" as she laid out a plan for strict antitrust rules.

Warren made the pitch before a town hall appearance on Friday in the NY neighbourhood where Amazon recently abandoned plans to open a new headquarters after a fierce backlash from progressive activists.

Carl Szabo, the Vice President and General Counsel for NetChoice, whose members include Facebook, PayPal, Google, eBay, Etsy, Twitter, etc., pushed back against Warren's assertion that tech markets lack competition.

"Amazon Marketplace, Google's ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law".

"The proposal ignores the fact that numerous services big tech companies now provide free used to cost consumers money", Atkinson added.

Warren answers questions from reporters after speaking at Plymouth State University in Plymouth N.H. Feb. 23 2019
Brian Snyder Reuters FILE

The big tech companies targeted by Warren make up roughly $2 trillion in market capitalization, which she believes allows them to "control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people". This would, for example, forbid Amazon from selling on its Amazon Marketplace platform.

Congress held a series of hearings previous year looking at the dominance of major tech companies. Zuckerberg, who famously declared in 2010 that privacy was "no longer a societal norm", said the new approach would enhance customer privacy, but many politicians, tech industry observers and activists disagreed.

The plan would pose existential threats to the business models that turned certain giant tech firms into money spigots.

There have been increasing calls in the press, government, and legal worlds that our current tech giants constitute monopolies the likes of which we haven't seen since the Gilded Age, and that we need to give them the Gilded Age treatment.

Google spent $21 million to lobby in 2018 while Amazon spent $14.2 million and Facebook spent $12.6 million, their filings to Congress reveal.

Warren's latest policy proposal also promised to be a central element of her scheduled visit Saturday to the South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas. In the Senate, Warren continues to be an outspoken critic of Wall Street and is a leader of her party's progressive wing.

Other Democratic candidates have also weighed in on the issue.

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