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Hawley introduces bill to trust-bust Big Tech


'It's past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers'

Graeme Jennings-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) on Monday introduced new legislation he says will "bust up" Big Tech companies, including Amazon and Google, by breaking up tech companies and strictly regulating what types of industries they can be involved with.

The "Bust Up Big Tech Act" would make it illegal for companies that offer search engines, marketplaces, and exchanges from competing with third-party vendors by selling, advertising, or promoting their own competing goods and services. Amazon, for example, would be prohibited from owning Amazon Marketplace and also selling Amazon products on the marketplace in competition with third-party sellers.

The bill would also ban tech companies from providing internet infrastructure services to other companies or hosting their websites online if they are already engaged in another type of business. Using Amazon as an example again, Hawley's bill would make it illegal for Amazon to both own its marketplace and offer Amazon Web Services, which provides on-demand cloud computing platforms and other tech infrastructure to third parties.

The Federal Trade Commission would be empowered to enforce these new regulations. Additionally, state attorneys general and private citizens would be permitted to sue Big Tech companies that violate the law.

"Woke Big Tech companies like Google and Amazon have been coddled by Washington politicians for years," Hawley said in a statement. "This treatment has allowed them to amass colossal amounts of power that they use to censor political opinions they don't agree with and shut out competitors who offer consumers an alternative to the status quo."

"It's past time to bust up Big Tech companies, restore competition, and give the power back to the American consumers," he added.

The "Bust Up Big Tech Act" is the latest in a series of bills introduced by Hawley to punish "woke mega-corporations."

Last week, Hawley introduced the "Trust-Busting for the Twenty-First Century Act" to ban mergers and acquisitions by companies exceeding a market capitalization of $100 billion. The bill would also loosen the standards to prove an anti-trust claim and would force any company that loses an antitrust suit to forfeit profits made through those business practices.

Hawley also introduced a bill along with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) to end Major League Baseball's antitrust exemption in response to the League's decision to move the All-Star Game out of Atlanta in protest of Georgia's new election laws.

There is bipartisan agreement between Republicans and Democrats that Big Tech companies are due for an antitrust reckoning, but for very different reasons. While Republicans are crying foul over censorship by social media and other tech platforms, Democrats believe these companies are not doing enough to prohibit the spread of "misinformation" on their websites.

In the House, Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the lead Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, is leading the effort to introduce new bills to break up Big Tech. He intends to introduce a series of small bills in May in hopes that Republicans may support one or two pieces of targeted antitrust legislation from Democrats rather than a comprehensive bill that will not pass the 50-50 Senate.

Hawley's legislation is unlikely to find support from Democrats, who are preoccupied with drafting their own bills.

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