Legislators in Washington DC today started their antitrust hearings, setting their sights on giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon – and the way they may be abusing their dominant positions in the digital market against competitors.
The judiciary hearings concern how these large companies may have dominated and ultimately abused their power.
Judging by a confidential hearing guidance that was leaked from the Republican point of view, this hearing was always going to center around the following topics: Big Tech’s political bias that may be leaving their consumers in the dark – with the goal of the probe allowing for the opposite, and for the market to be able “to respond.”
Another point in the Republican memo ahead of the start of proceedings was that from their point of view, “antitrust law should be used to promote freedom, competition, and the American dream, not to punish success or attack companies solely because they are large.”
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The term “Europeanized” is used as a pejorative here – clearly in reference to the European Union (an entity largely different from Europe) that has consistently accused US Big Tech of breaking a variety of rules, only to fine them with what amounts to a drop in their income bucket, and essentially let them carry on as before.
But after a while, the Republican memo gets to the point – saying that trying to better legislate antitrust laws, and punish those violating it, isn’t actually what they feel is the immediate need of the health of its democracy.
Instead, it would be to remove political bias from the behavior of tech platforms that can clearly make or break campaigns with their wide and currently unfettered influence on an audience of not only American millions – but global billions, checked and steered into “curated” opinion echo chambers.
One of the suggested solutions – breaking up these behemoths into smaller parts – wouldn’t address the real issue, the memo suggests in what seems like a fit of strategic clarity. Instead, the policy focus should be on pressing for “regulations to remove bias and censorship,” Republicans say.
And that’s exactly how the hearing went down.