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Elizabeth Warren proposes breaking up big tech companies

Countering the influence of large tech companies would give tech entrepreneurs a fighting chance, Warren says

Photo (c) dolphfyn - Getty Images
In a post on Medium, presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren outlined several reasons why she believes breaking up tech giants such as Amazon, Facebook, and Google will pave the way for the next generation of great U.S. tech companies to “flourish.”

Warren, a Democrat, says large companies like these should be broken up by the government because they tend to engage in anti-competitive behaviors and use their resources to create a monopoly.

"I want a government that makes sure everybody — even the biggest and most powerful companies in America — plays by the rules," Warren wrote. "And I want to make sure that the next generation of great American tech companies can flourish.”

“To do that, we need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favor and throwing around their economic power to snuff out or buy up every potential competitor."

Warren’s proposals

To help level the playing field and promote competition, the Massachusetts Senator proposes designating large tech platforms as “platform utilities.”

“These companies would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform," Warren wrote.

Additionally, Warren proposes using mergers to limit competition.

“Facebook has purchased potential competitors Instagram and WhatsApp. Amazon has used its immense market power to force smaller competitors like to sell at a discounted rate. Google has snapped up the mapping company Waze and the ad company DoubleClick,” Warren noted.

“Rather than blocking these transactions for their negative long-term effects on competition and innovation, government regulators have waved them through,” she said.

By stemming the influence of large tech companies, Warren says tech entrepreneurs would be in a better position to compete with Amazon. The changes would also put pressure on Facebook to respect its users' privacy and would prevent Google from demoting competitors' search results.

“We must ensure that today’s tech giants do not crowd out potential competitors, smother the next generation of great tech companies, and wield so much power that they can undermine our democracy,” she wrote.

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