Democratic lawmakers are calling for Congress to rein in Big Tech, possibly forcing Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple to sever their dominant platforms from their other lines of business and imposing new uniformity on the terms they offer users.
The proposals in a report issued Tuesday follow an investigation by a House Judiciary Committee panel into the companies’ market dominance. Those kinds of forced breakups through a legislative overhaul would be a radical step for Congress to take toward a powerful industry that has come under intensifying scrutiny over issues of competition, consumer privacy and hate speech.
"To put it simply, companies that once were scrappy, underdog startups that challenged the status quo have become the kinds of monopolies we last saw in the era of oil barons and railroad tycoons," the committee's report reads. "Although these firms have delivered clear benefits to society, the dominance of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google has come at a price. These firms typically run the marketplace while also competing in it—a position that enables them to write one set of rules for others, while they play by another, or to engage in a form of their own private quasi regulation that is unaccountable to anyone but themselves."