US House antitrust report hints at disbandment of big tech companies: lawmaker

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The US House of Representatives’ antitrust report on Big Tech companies contains a “thinly veiled call to dismantle” companies, Republican Congressman Ken Buck said in a draft response seen by Reuters.

FILE PHOTO: The logos of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google in a combined photo from Reuters files./File Photo

The House antitrust subcommittee is expected to publish its report this week on Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc, Facebook Inc and the owner of Google Alphabet Inc.

A representative for Buck confirmed to Reuters the authenticity of the draft response, which was first reported by Politico.

In the draft, Buck said he shared the Democrats’ concerns about the power of big tech companies, with their penchant for “murderous acquisitions” to eliminate rivals and self-preference to guide customers to their other products. .

However, he opposed a plan to force them to clearly define a “single line of business”. Social media platform Facebook also owns Instagram and WhatsApp, Google’s search engine provider business includes YouTube and Android, and e-commerce leader Amazon operates a massive cloud computing unit.

“This proposal is a thinly veiled call to dismantle big tech companies. We don’t agree with the majority approach, ”Buck wrote.

It is not yet clear how many Republicans will support the report, which is led by Democratic President David Cicillin. Reports and recommendations that have bipartisan support tend to have greater impact.

“The report offers a chilling look at how Apple, Amazon, Google and Facebook have used their power to control the way we see and understand the world,” Buck wrote.

He endorsed some of the report’s recommendations, such as making it easier for the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission to stop mergers by reducing the burden of proof and allowing consumers to take control of their data. through data portability and interoperability between platforms.

“These potential changes don’t have to be dramatic to be effective,” Buck wrote.

Buck also said he was unhappy the report failed to respond to conservative claims that some platforms tried to stifle conservative voices.

Reporting by Diane Bartz in Washington; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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