What is Big Tech?
Big Tech is the group of dominant companies in the tech sector that each essentially control their own field: Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. Facebook controls the social media space, Google is the most-used internet search engine, Amazon is the leading e-commerce marketplace, and so on. While all the Big Tech companies are based in the United States, they have penetrated the global stage with major political, economic and social influences.
What did Biden do?
President Biden signed an executive order aimed at preventing Big Tech from using anti-competitive practices and techniques, among the current antitrust investigations. He stated, “Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism. It’s exploitation.” The executive order contains 72 actions and recommendations for various federal agencies and hopes to achieve a variety of goals centered around the Federal Trade Commission, or FTC.
The main issue with current Big Tech is the use of anti competitive measures, such as Facebook buying Instagram or Amazon restricting sellers on their platform, which leads to industry monopolies. Additionally, this leads to declining levels of innovation with smaller creatives being snuffed out before they have a chance to grow. Eventually, this leads to higher prices and fewer choices for consumers of the products and services
Lina Khan is the current FTC chair, and the youngest to do so at 32 years old is extremely vocal on reforming regulations for tech giants. Because the FTC is an independent organization, President Biden can only suggest they take actions, but they have agreed with the sentiment put out and will likely proceed as directed. She will take actions along with Richard A. Powers, the acting assistant attorney general for antitrust, who stated that their agencies have, “the goal of updating [current guidelines] to reflect a rigorous” approach towards mergers. Mergers are business agreements that join two companies, or groups together, and often lead to monopolies. Antitrust issues can be handled by doing the opposite, or splitting the company into smaller, more specialized section like the Standard Oil Company in the past.