President Joe Biden has named Lina Khan, a critic of Amazon who helped launch a movement to reform antitrust laws, to serve as the chair of the Federal Trade Commission, according to a White House official.
The move comes on the day the Senate confirmed Lina Khan to serve on the FTC in a bipartisan 69-28 vote that signaled that the cause of reining in Big Tech has resonance on both sides of the aisle. The FTC enforces competition and consumer protection laws, and it has investigated Amazon's practices with regard to third-party sellers on the site.
Such practices were the focus of Khan's 2017 Yale Law Journal article, which she wrote while a law student. Many see the article as helping to revamp interest in antitrust law and to launch a movement for boosted enforcement and legal changes. Many reformers, particularly on the left, want to emphasize potential harms beyond pricing, which has dominated competition analysis since the 1980s.
Now a Columbia University law professor, Khan also worked as a lawyer on the House antitrust subcommittee's probe into competition in Big Tech. The leaders of the panel unveiled a package of five bipartisan bills last week aimed at the tech industry; it represents one of the most profound potential changes to antitrust law in generations.
Including Khan, all three Democrats on the five-member commission have called for tougher action on tech, although Biden has nominated Commissioner Rohit Chopra to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Issie Lapowsky contributed reporting.