Elizabeth Warren wants Amazon, Facebook, other big tech firms broken up

Roman Schwartz
March 9, 2019

In that tradition, she said, her proposal would restore competition to the tech sector through two major steps: Passing legislation that requires large tech platforms to be designated as "platform utilities" and broken apart from any participant on that platform; and appointing regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.

Warren made her political mark by going after big banks after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.

They would also have to meet a standard of fair, reasonable and nondiscriminatory dealing with users and be barred from transferring or sharing data with third parties, she noted. "Google Search would have to be spun off as well", she wrote.

The privacy issue took another turn for Facebook earlier this week, when Zuckerberg announced the company would introduce features like "disappearing" messages across all three of the company's social platforms: Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram.

But Warren's post, and speech that she delivered in Queens (sorry, Bezos), turn that idea into an actual mainstream plan of attack.

"Many big tech companies own a marketplace -where buyers and sellers transact - while also participating on the marketplace", Warren wrote. Under this proposal, Google would be forced to spin off its search business.

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The company produces over $25 billion in revenue and would have to choose between, for example, "running the App Store or offering their own apps", said Saloni Sharma, a spokesperson with the campaign. Amazon crushes small companies by copying the goods they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version.

To enforce these new requirements, federal regulators, State Attorneys General, or injured private parties would have the right to sue a platform utility to enjoin any conduct that violates these requirements, to disgorge any ill-gotten gains, and to be paid for losses and damages.

Kamala Harris (D-CA), who represents many of those large companies in California, has called on big tech executives to improve their privacy policies but has avoided calls to regulate the companies. Sen.

Vermont's Bernie Sanders, another presidential candidate, in 2018 even named a bill after Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the Stop BEZOS Act, which would tax big companies if their employees receive public benefits.

In a 2016 speech, the MA senator said companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon were using their size to "snuff out competition".

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.

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