Politics

Cicilline names the three biggest antitrust concerns around Big Tech

David Cicilline

Cicilline will clarify that the committee instead will focus on patterns of potentially monopolistic behavior across all of them.

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

In his prepared opening remarks, House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David Cicilline lays out three lines of argument against Facebook, Google, Amazon and Apple:

1. The companies are each a "bottleneck for a key channel of distribution." Think: Apple's App Store, Facebook and Google's online advertising platforms. This means the companies can easily exploit the people and businesses that can't live without them.

2. The companies use their "control over digital infrastructure to surveil other companies." This allows them to elbow out competitors. For instance, this could refer to Amazon allegedly spying on third-party sellers to improve its own products, a key pressure point for Jeff Bezos during today's hearing.

3. The companies "abuse their control over current technologies to extend their power." For one, Google stands accused of directing users to its own products, or "self-preferencing."

Critics have said the lawmakers couldn't possibly delve deep into the antitrust arguments around each of these very different companies. But Cicilline will clarify that the committee instead will focus on patterns of potentially monopolistic behavior across all of them.

"At today's hearing, we will examine how each of these companies has used this playbook to achieve and maintain dominance—and how their power shapes and affects our daily lives," Cicilline plans to say.

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Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Aisha Counts (@aishacounts) is a reporting fellow at Protocol, based out of Los Angeles. Previously, she worked for Ernst & Young, where she researched and wrote about the future of work, emerging technologies and startups. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where she studied business and philosophy. She can be reached at acounts@protocol.com.

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