No More Passing the Buck on Big Tech.

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  • 08/19/2022

Ten years ago, Apple took in $65 billion in revenue. Amazon took in $34 billion, Google took in $29 billion, and Facebook took in $2 billion. Even in 2012, the revenue of these companies was sizable. But last year alone, those same companies earned $275, $386, $183, and $86 billion, respectively. As of today, Apple is wealthier than the nation of Italy, and Amazon is worth more than 92% of countries across the globe. This tremendous growth has created an oligarchy of opinion, giving Big Tech unprecedented control over American life: crushing small businesses, silencing conservative voices, and carefully shaping public opinion and discourse to support a progressive, liberal agenda.

Big Tech has a monopoly, not just over their respective markets, but over everything that the American people consume...

In the last year alone, Facebook permanently banned President Trump from its platforms. Apple and Google removed a new social media site, Parler, from their app stores because it was too conservative. The companies censored damaging stories about liberal candidates, demonetized conservative news outlets, and manipulated search algorithms to promote their social and political objectives. Meanwhile, Amazon, which supports over 2 million small businesses on its platform, was found to systematically prioritize its own products over those of smaller competitors—delivering yet another blow to the smaller retailers who already have to compete with its massive empire.

For years, the Federal Trade Commission has refused to take significant action to address the monopolistic behavior of these Big Tech giants. Amazon has been allowed to choke off competition and choice in the online marketplace. Apple has been permitted to act as a gatekeeper for all new apps and services available to cellular consumers. Google has freely manipulated search results, and Facebook has continually censored or suppressed the voices of users. In turn, Big Tech has a monopoly, not just over their respective markets, but over everything that the American people consume, from their social media, to their search engines, to their online commerce.

[caption id="attachment_190946" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Google campus building. Google campus building.[/caption]

A few weeks ago, elected officials finally took the first step toward cracking down on Big Tech at the federal level. Ranking member on the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, Ken Buck (R-CO) and his colleagues recently introduced a legislative package aimed at strengthening antitrust laws and making the online marketplace more competitive. Key pieces of legislation will outlaw self-preferencing censorship on online platforms, prohibit acquisitions that expand the market power of online platforms, and lower barriers to entry for smaller businesses.

Instead of passing the buck and failing to act in the face of this threat to our freedom, Congress should get behind Rep. Buck’s legislation.

Included in this expansive state is Rep. Buck’s own “State Antitrust Enforcement Venue Act of 2021,” which he introduced at the end of May. "Through this legislation, many of the inefficiencies and obstacles the states face in enforcing the federal antitrust laws will be eliminated,” Buck said, "resulting in quicker resolution for the citizens of those states." The bill has ten cosponsors: eight Republicans and two Democrats.

Predictably, Big Tech has cried foul over the proposal and launched a large-scale lobbying effort to defeat the legislation. Despite this opposition, the GOP has a duty to stay the course and enact these new antitrust laws, loosening Big Tech’s chokehold on the American people.

In 2020, the Trump administration proposed a number of worthwhile legislative solutions to curb Big Tech’s influence that ultimately failed to gain any traction. This time, Republicans in Congress should not be fooled by claims that this new legislative package unfairly targets Big Tech giants or by arguments that the new laws would impede services by the companies. They should not be held back by the campaign contributions they receive from Google or the fundraisers held for them by lobbyists.

The GOP must see Big Tech for what it is: a powerful conglomeration that seeks to unilaterally control what Americans think, what they see, and how they behave, no matter the effect it has on our free markets and speech. Instead of passing the buck and failing to act in the face of this threat to our freedom, Congress should get behind Rep. Buck’s legislation.

[caption id="attachment_190945" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Apple store. Apple store.[/caption]

Luckily, there are conservative fighters like Lance Gooden (R-TX), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), and others who have been vocal in their support. In mid-June, a bipartisan coalition of 52 attorneys general sent a letter to congressional antitrust leaders urging them to support Rep. Buck’s antitrust bill. But it’s going to take everyone coming together to solve this issue.

Congressional Republicans must send the clear message that they will always support a level playing field for small businesses and that they will always oppose efforts by the left to silence conservative voices and censor conservative views. But most importantly, the GOP must demonstrate that it is willing to stand up to the world’s most powerful and wealthy entities, to return power to the people, and stop the reign of corporate control.

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