A bipartisan group of US lawmakers introduced several antitrust reforms on Friday that may soon force big tech companies to undertake a massive overhaul of their business practices and effectively break down their monopolies within the industry.
The reform push by congressional lawmakers in the US House includes a total of five bills that take a direct aim at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google, and would mark the most ambitious and comprehensive effort to reform the nation's antitrust laws.
As they currently stand, the proposals would make it much more difficult for dominant companies, such as Facebook and Google, to complete mergers or own a business that would create a conflict of interest with smaller businesses.
Additionally, companies would be prohibited from manipulating online marketplaces they control in order to promote their own products, underscoring a clear nod to e-commerce giant Amazon and tech firm Apple.
The reforms, if cleared through both congressional chambers, would also make it easier for users to quit social media platforms and maintain one’s personal data.
“Right now, unregulated tech monopolies have too much power over our economy,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI), who also serves as the chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, said in a statement.
“They are in a unique position to pick winners and losers, destroy small businesses, raise prices on consumers, and put folks out of work. Our agenda will level the playing field and ensure the wealthiest, most powerful tech monopolies play by the same rules as the rest of us.”
Cicilline proposed the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, which was co-sponsored by US Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX). Their measure would make it unlawful for a top company to own or operate a business that would present a conflict of interest, such as incentivizing a business to favor one product over another.
The four other measures include the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act and the Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act.
All five measures are in response to the findings laid out in the late 2020 investigation that examined the business practices of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google.
Although the bills have already prompted severe pushback from tech-funded groups, a White House official informed Axios that the Biden administration would be working with lawmakers to assist in the legislative process.