Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), desperate to increase her standing in the 2020 presidential polls, today called for the breakup of tech giants Amazon, Google and Facebook.
In a Medium blog post, Warren named specific “anti-competitive” mergers she wants reversed, including:
- Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram;
- Amazon’s purchase of Whole Foods and Zappos; and
- Google’s acquisitions of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick.
The senator also said she wants Congress to pass a law requiring that some large technology companies be designated as “platform utilities” and “broken apart from any participant on that platform.”
Those targets would include Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange and Google Search.
Warren outlined her “trust busting” strategy ahead of a planned campaign rally she will have today in Long Island City in Queens, New York. This was the planned site for Amazon’s second headquarters until the company pulled out amid criticism from New York Democrats about excessive corporate tax breaks.
Warren is not the only 2020 Democratic presidential contender scrutinizing the market power of the tech giants which have come to have monopoly-like power.
Warren’s comments today, however, are the most detailed proposed solution of any candidate so far.
In her blog post Warren wrote:
“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.”
“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. 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.”
“That’s why my Administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition — including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google.”
Donald Trump has also called for the break up of tech giants because he says they are biased against conservatives. This is ironic considering that many people believe that Facebook was manipulated by Russian bots that used social media to spread disinformation about Trump’s 2016 opponent Hillary Clinton.
It is not clear at this time whether Warren’s latest proposal will help her standing in the polls. She has been slipping and now trails announced candidates Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris, as well as unannounced candidates Joe Biden and Beto O’Rourke.
But it does show that she is a fighter and if she does lose the 2020 nomination it won’t be because she hasn’t made the effort to win.