Elizabeth’s Proposal to Break Up Big Tech Protects the Future of the Internet
Elizabeth’s proposal to break up Big Tech will protect small businesses and encourage innovation — while ensuring that you can still use the Big Tech services you like.
Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.
Amazon crushes small companies by copying the products they sell on the Amazon Marketplace and then selling its own branded version of those same products. Google allegedly snuffed out a competing small search engine by demoting its content on its search algorithm, and it has favored its own restaurant ratings over those of Yelp. The number of tech startups has slumped, there are fewer high-growth young firms typical of the tech industry, and first financing rounds for tech startups have declined 22% since 2012.
These big tech companies shouldn’t be allowed to use their size and political clout to choke off competition. And they shouldn’t be allowed to operate a platform and sell their own products on that platform — that’s like being an umpire while owning one of the teams in the game.
Elizabeth’s proposal address these problems by making two big structural changes. First, she supports new legislation to require large tech platforms — like Amazon Marketplace — to be designated as “Platform Utilities” and broken apart from any participant on that platform. Second, she is committed to appointing regulators who would reverse illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers, such as the Facebook-Instagram and Facebook-WhatsApp mergers.
So what would the Internet look like after all these reforms?
Here’s what won’t change: You’ll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today. You’ll still be able to go on Amazon and find 30 different coffee machines that you can get delivered to your house in two days. You’ll still be able to go on Facebook and see how your old friend from school is doing.
Here’s what will change: Small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business. Google couldn’t smother competitors by demoting their products on Google Search. Facebook would face real pressure from Instagram and WhatsApp to improve the user experience and protect our privacy. Tech entrepreneurs would have a fighting chance to compete against the tech giants.
What Elizabeth is proposing will allow existing big tech companies to keep offering customer-friendly services, while promoting competition, stimulating innovation in the tech sector, and ensuring that America continues to lead the world in producing cutting-edge tech companies.
This latest Warren policy proposal is a big deal – a first of its kind proposal to actually break up and regulate tech companies. This will be a critical front-line in fights for racial and economic justice, and for the very functioning of our democracy.