Senator Elizabeth Warren Announces Plan To Break Up Amazon, Google And Facebook
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) unveiled the third major proposal of her presidential campaign Friday, a plan to make it easier for entrepreneurs to compete in the tech sector by breaking up dominant tech giants including Amazon, Google and Facebook.
“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,” Warren wrote in a post published on Medium.
“I want a government that makes sure everybody ― even the biggest and most powerful companies in America ― plays by the rules. And I want to make sure that the next generation of great American tech companies can flourish,” she continued. “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, who hopes to secure the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, is scheduled to make a campaign stop in New York City Friday night in Long Island City, Queens, where Amazon was slated to build its highly publicized new headquarters before pulling out amid protest last month.
Like many of the other Democratic presidential hopefuls, Warren has pledged her support for proposals like student loan relief, Medicare for All and the Green New Deal. But the Massachusetts senators has set herself apart from the pack by also announcing specific and out-of-the-box policy ideas, including universal child care and an annual wealth tax on people with more than $50 million to their names.
“I am a capitalist. Come on. I believe in markets,” she told CNBC last year. “What I don’t believe in is theft, what I don’t believe in is cheating. That’s where the difference is.”
Her newest proposal falls right in line with that idea. In Friday’s post, Warren breaks her proposal down into “two major steps.” The first would be passing legislation that designates tech platforms with annual revenues surpassing $25 billion as utilities that “would be prohibited from owning both the platform utility and any participants on that platform.”
“Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law,” she writes. “Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well.”
Additionally, Warren proposes disallowing these so-called “platform utilities” from sharing data with third parties.
The second major proposal of Warren’s plan would be appointing regulators dedicated to using current rules to “unwind anti-competitive mergers,” like those between Amazon and Whole Foods, Facebook and Instagram, and Google and Waze. “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,” she said.
In the post, Warren argued that these changes would give entrepreneurs a “fighting chance” against the biggest companies on the internet without taking away the benefits consumers enjoy from the internet’s largest players.
“The steps I’m proposing today 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,” she wrote.