Bill to Curb Big Tech Rigging Online Commerce in Their Favor Garners Bipartisan Support
19:14 GMT 14.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
A bipartisan Senate bill has been introduced to prevent large tech companies from using their platforms to crush small businesses and bolster their sales.
The bill, known as the “American Choice and Innovation Online Act,” has bipartisan support in the Senate and shares a name and many components of a bill introduced by Representative David Cicilline (D-RI) in June of 2021.
The primary goal of the bill is to prevent large tech companies from favoring their own products over competitors, using third-party business data to their advantage, and demanding a business buys their platform's goods or services for preferred placement.
Large tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Apple all have their own marketplaces for products and services that third-parties also use to reach customers. Part of what attracts consumers to these marketplaces is the variety of goods and services available.
14 October 2021, 06:13 GMT
However, third parties have long argued that large tech companies give advantages to their goods and services. According to a Reuters report from Wednesday, Amazon used its vast amount of internal data to create knockoffs of popular products and then manipulated search results to boost their sales.
The bill seeks to only target the largest companies that have a market capitalization of $550 billion. The bill currently has support from both sides of the aisle in the Senate, with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CN), John Kennedy (R-LA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) and Josh Hawley (R-MO) all sponsoring the bill.
“As dominant digital platforms — some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen — increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace,” Klobuchar said in a statement.
Big Tech has faced tremendous scrutiny over the past year, and curtailing their influence seems to be one of the few causes that garner bipartisan support. Bills in the mold of the “American Choice and Innovation Online Act” could become the norm.