Reported by CNBC, a Democratic congressional workers report, after its 16-month antitrust investigation which included the testimonies of among the largest CEOs within the expertise business, is recommending main adjustments to antitrust legal guidelines that would have main impacts to firms like Apple, Amazon, Fb, and Google.
The existing infrastructures are bad, and the scathing case against Big Tech will only crystallize these issues for a global audience of tens of millions.
The resulting report of over 400 pages provides recommendations on how to "restore competition in the digital economy, strengthen the antitrust laws and reinvigorate antitrust enforcement". Consumers who have seen their personal data hoovered up by these firms, especially Google and Facebook, and then sold against personalised advertising for tens of billions of dollars of profit, will be experiencing some schadenfreude - akin to the relief South Africans felt last week when corrupt officials were finally arrested by the Hawks.
"Through using market power in one area to advantage a separate line of business, dominant firms undermine competition on the merits", the report concludes, adding that due to their practical omniscience, the companies are now "threatening greater and greater portions of the digital economy".
One of the suggestions is companies should not be allowed to own various other businesses, which would essentially mean breaking them up.
"Each platform now serves as a gatekeeper over a key channel of distribution", the report says. The report's recommendations would be a massive regulatory shakeup for the industry.
"Our investigation leaves no doubt that there is a clear and compelling need for Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies to take action that restores competition, improves innovation and safeguards our democracy", Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of NY and chairman of the judiciary committee, and David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island and chairman of the antitrust subcommittee, said in a joint statement.
The tech giants have railed against the report claiming competition is alive and well in the markets they dominate.
"A strongly competitive landscape existed at the time of [the Instagram and WhatsApp acquisitions] and exists today".
The report cites that according to Facebook's internal market data, YouTube and Facebook's family of products were by far the most popular social media sites by Monthly Active Persons (MAP) as of December 2019. As the report found, the companies appear to operate believing they are "beyond the reach of democratic oversight".
Google took issue with both reports, saying they contain "outdated and inaccurate allegations from commercial rivals" about Google's search engine and other services. It decried "misguided interventions in the free market".
Apple declined to comment. However giant firms aren't dominant by definition, and the presumption that success can exclusively be the results of anti-competitive conduct is just fallacious. The FTC is also investigating Google over new climate science findings. It maintains that its services face ample competition and have unleashed innovations that help people manage their lives.
US antitrust committee says big tech companies are a monopoly
The report also suggests updating antitrust legislation to prevent companies becoming so large and powerful again. Most of its services are offered for free in exchange for personal information that helps Google sell ads.