US Senator Josh Hawley, a staunch critic of Big Tech, unveiled an antitrust bill on Monday that would ban all mergers and acquisitions by companies with a market value greater than $100 billion, including Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft, reports CNET.
“A small group of woke mega-corporations control the products Americans can buy, the information Americans can receive, and the speech Americans can engage in,” Hawley said in a statement Monday.” “These monopoly powers control our speech, our economy, our country, and their control has only grown because Washington has aided and abetted their quest for endless power. These platforms are determining elections, banning inconvenient political views, lining politicians’ pockets with hundreds of millions of dollars, and addicting our kids to screens”, he added.
The bill would empower the Federal Trade Commission to label companies exercising dominant market power as “digital dominant firms” and prohibit them from acquiring potential competitors. Such companies would also be prohibited from prioritizing their own search results without explicitly disclosing that information.
Hawley’s bill would also require companies that lose antitrust cases to federal antitrust lawsuits to forfeit all their profits resulting from monopolistic conduct.
Google, Facebook, and other tech giants have come under increased scrutiny over their size and scale. Legislators and regulators are concerned about how their power might ultimately harm consumers, especially by choking off competition from smaller players in Silicon Valley. Google is facing three antitrust suits. In December, a pair of complaints were filed against Facebook seeking to break up Instagram and WhatsApp from the social networking giant.