The United States even proposes to fragment Big Tech, but all should not pass – 06/11/2021 – Nelson de Sá

Tech journalist Casey Newton, now at Substack, had access and spent two days analyzing the five proposals presented this Friday (11) at the United States House.

It was featured in the Wall Street Journal, “Bills Seeking to Divide Big Tech”. They seek, among other things, to separate, to “separate”, Amazon and perhaps other tech giants.

The projects were born on the Democratic bench, in the same group that published a report last year pointing to the monopoly practices adopted by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

But Rupert Murdoch, owner of WSJ and Fox News, is already on the ground looking to get Republicans to back at least part of the package. He was mainly responsible for the regulations imposed by Australia on Google and Facebook, on the remuneration of journalistic content.

Casey Newton, a benchmark today for industry coverage in the United States, doesn’t hide his skepticism with congressional approval, even in the face of audiences with mounting attacks on CEOs.

“But after years of theater, we are entering perhaps the most important regulatory debate of the era of platforms,” ​​he said, in front of the five texts, also put forward by the Politico site.

The bill with more luck, even because a similar proposal has just been passed in the Senate, foresees more money for the control of acquisitions in the sector by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission, the American Cade) and the Ministry of Justice.

Still with good prospects, a second project would force the giants to create interfaces to allow users to change platforms more easily, to transfer data. The greater ease of approval, in this case, is due to the signals given by the companies themselves, anticipating the novelty.

A notch higher, in the increasing order of resistance in the votes, another bill opposes its veto to platforms of more than 500,000 active users to carry out an acquisition without first proving, in a “clear and convincing” way, that she is not a competitor.

This is a rule that would have prevented, for example, Facebook from buying Instagram. “If you are tired of seeing giants opening their way to enormity, this project would help you,” Newton says. “I’m rooting for this one.”


He also hopes because the last two texts on the list are the least likely to be accepted.

One of them takes Amazon as a more or less clear target, having been presented by the Democratic representative of the region where the company’s headquarters are in Seattle.

This would allow the Department of Justice and the FTC to bring an action to dismantle a company that has a dominant platform and, at the same time, sell its products or services there.

Casey believes Republicans will not go along with the proposal, as dismantling a business would only be acceptable to them if it was touted as a way to fight censorship, which isn’t quite the case with Amazon.

Finally, in the same vein, the fifth project plans to sanction, but without fragmenting, the platform which discriminates against a competitor by favoring its subsidiaries or its products.

The targets would be Google for search results, Apple for billing from the App Store and even Amazon. With so much interest frustrated, the giants are expected to act together against the proposal, making it the most difficult to pass.

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