Senator Elizabeth Warren Announces Plan To Break Up Amazon, Google And Facebook

Senator Elizabeth Warren Announces Plan To Break Up Amazon, Google And Facebook

"They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else", Warren wrote in a post published on Medium.

This comes as more people are beginning to look critically at tech companies and their enormous, often unchecked growth.

As social media has exploded in the past decade, large players in the market - like Facebook - have bought out smaller competitors even when they aren't directly fighting for the same audience.

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

Sen. Elizabeth Warren unveiled her plan for how to break up the nation's technology behemoths on Friday.

At the same time, the senator argues, antitrust has been weakly enforced.

Now that Warren has made this a major point of her campaign, all of her competitors are going to have to weigh in on whether Facebook, Google, and Amazon are monopolies, and what the heck to do about it.

The proposal would impose new regulations on two tiers of companies: those worth more than annual global revenue of $25 billion or higher, and those with revenue between $90 million and $25 billion. Warren will also call for legislation that would block platforms from both offering a marketplace for commerce and participating in that marketplace. Platform utilities would be prevented from transferring or sharing data with third parties.

Warren's use of the $25 billion in annual revenue as a measure is notable because now, antitrust enforcement largely depends on complex and ambiguous legal tests around factors like market share and evidence of price gouging. To counter this, Warren suggests fragmenting companies into "platform utilities" and retroactively splitting up acquisitions. Separating the company from its ad business would make Google ads much less valuable. "Google Search would have to be spun off as well", she wrote.

Although not mentioned by name, the plan would also presumably impact Apple, which operates its App Store. "Every day brings some creepy new revelation about these companies' behaviours". They could face fines of 5-percent of annual revenue, among other penalties.

That's right: Elizabeth Warren wants to break up Facebook, Google, and Amazon. That includes Amazon's acquisitions of Whole Foods and Zappos, Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google's deals with Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick.

While none of the tech giants have commented on the plan, it surely would upset the business models of all the companies and opponents against government regulation. For instance, Columbia law professor Tim Wu published The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age in November, which argues that monopolies and their near relations are the defining feature of the current US economy. Now she says there's a conflict between the search giant's roles selling and buying online ads and notes that Amazon may abuse its ability to compete with the third-party vendors that sell through its site.

The proposals are likely to be controversial.

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