Massachusetts Senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (D) on Friday unveiled her plan to take down Facebook, Google, and Amazon.
These companies have “too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” she wrote. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else.”
Warren’s aggressive proposal seeks to break up “anti-competitive mergers” such as Facebook’s ownership of WhatsApp and Instagram and Amazon’s ownership of WholeFoods.
“Unwinding these mergers will promote healthy competition in the market – which will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy.”
When asked what her message to the CEOs of Amazon and Facebook would be, she responded: “Good for you. You’ve built a great company. But you don’t get to use the benefits of having built a platform to suck up information about every buyer and every seller and then use that information that nobody else can get access to – to let you out-compete the next little business that’s trying to get a foothold.”
Warren compared Amazon, Google, and Facebook to the oil and steel monopolies of the Gilded Age and said her Administration would push for laws blocking those companies from participating on their own platforms. For instance, Amazon wouldn’t be allowed to sell its own products and Google wouldn’t be allowed to prioritize its own search results.
Warren also decried the effects of big tech on local newspapers and argued that we should prevent companies like Google and Facebook from gobbling up so much content.
“And we must ensure that Russia – or any other foreign power – can’t use Facebook or any other form of social media to influence our elections.”
Warren’s proposal was met with criticism from free-market advocates who insist her plan would harm business.
Big tech companies shouldn’t be punished for “earning market share and operating at scale,” says Rob Atkinson, president of the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation.
“The next wave of technological innovations will likely require enormous economies of scale to serve consumers,” adds Jessica Melugin, associate director of the center for technology and innovation at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “In the meantime, there are no barriers to entry for the next killer app or sector-disrupting entrepreneur.”
Shares of Facebook, Amazon, and Google dropped immediately in response to Warren’s proposal.
Elizabeth Warren is a former Harvard professor who was elected to the Senate in 2012 after serving in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under President Obama.
A registered Republican until the mid-1990’s, Warren is now a notorious Bernie Sanders ally who – like Hillary Clinton – wants to reform Wall Street, rebuild the Middle Class, and tackle political corruption in Washington, DC.
Editor’s note: I’m not sure I completely disagree, having been a victim of the political bias of some of these institutions. But I would hate to see how Warren would manage things, given how little she understands the real world. It would be nice if the government focused on the existing anti-trust laws and applied them in appropriate circumstances.