tech antitrust law also online companies federal
A Global Tipping Point for Reining In Tech Has ArrivedOn Dec. 9, the Federal Trade Commission and nearly every state filedbipartisan lawsuits accusing Facebook of acting anticompetitively. Less than aweek later, European policymakers introduced a competition law and newrequirements for blocking online hate speech. On Dec. 24, Chinese regulatorsopened an antitrust investigation into Alibaba after scuppering an initialpublic offering from Ant.Antitrust and content moderation have been where tech companies are mostvulnerable. Google, Facebook, Apple, Alibaba, Amazon and other companiesclearly dominate online advertising, search, e-commerce and app marketplaces,and have faced questions about whether they have unduly used their clout tobuy competitors, promote their own products ahead of others and block rivals.The companies also face scrutiny about how hate speech and other noxiousonline material can spill into the offline world, leading to calls to bettercontrol content.The antitrust push has especially sharpened in the United States, withlandmark suits filed against Google and Facebook last year. Republican andDemocratic lawmakers have said they are drafting new antitrust, privacy andspeech regulations targeting Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. They havealso proposed trimming a law that shields sites like YouTube, which Googleowns, from lawsuits over content posted by their users.“This is a monopoly moment. Not just for the United States but for the entireworld,” the chairman of the House antitrust subcommittee, David Cicilline,Democrat of Rhode Island, said in a statement. “Countries need to worktogether in order to take on the monopoly power held by the largest techplatforms and restore competition and innovation to the digital economy.”Mr. Biden has also picked tech critics for key administration roles. Tim Wu, alaw professor who supports a breakup of Facebook, joined the White House lastmonth, while Lina Khan, a law professor who has been influential on techantitrust, was nominated to a seat on the Federal Trade Commission.