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Warren: Time to Bust Up Google, Amazon

Presidential candidate is going after the giants of tech
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 8, 2019 12:55 PM CST
Sen. Elizabeth Warren speaks to local residents during an organizing event on March 1, 2019, in Dubuque, Iowa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Newser) – Elizabeth Warren wants a fair playing field in the marketplace—and she's going after Big Tech to make it happen. "To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it's time to break up our biggest tech companies," she said in a statement Friday, per the New York Times. Her plan to bust up giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon is a two-tiered one: First, large firms with annual global revenue of $25 billion or more that offer an online marketplace or other type of platform that connects third parties would have to "structurally separate" their products from that marketplace. What that means, for example, is that if you do a Google search for a restaurant, Google can't give its own ratings priority over, say, Yelp's, notes Vox.

The second tier—companies with annual revenue between $90 million and $25 billion—wouldn't be subject to that same sort of product-marketplace separation, but they would have to adhere to certain fair-use regulations. Another big move Warren's plan is pushing for: reversing some recent mergers that the 2020 presidential candidate says cut down down healthy competition, including Facebook's acquisition of Instagram, as well as Amazon scooping up Whole Foods. This move, Warren says, "will put pressure on big tech companies to be more responsive to user concerns, including about privacy." Critics commenting on Warren's proposal fear such a plan could lead to the "weaponizing" of antitrust laws (lawmakers could go after companies they don't like), per the Times, or reduce convenience for consumers, Ars Technica notes. (Read more Elizabeth Warren stories.)

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