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Big Tech in 2020: Competition

How the Presidential Candidates Approach Social Media Company Competition

 

 

 

Disinformation spreads across platforms. Advertising, microtargeted using personal information, follows users from social platform to social platform. Privacy and competition conundrums arise when multiple large social media platforms are owned by a single entity. Should large social media companies such as Facebook and Google be broken up to preserve economic competition?

Republican Candidates

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President Donald Trump

President Trump has been critical of large technology and social media companies, citing perceived bias against conservative viewpoints, mismanagement of user data, and diminished market competition in support of antitrust arguments. This has led to internal Department of Justice-led reviews of tech companies and criticism from other members of Trump's cabinet.

Trump suggested the United States should emulate the EU’s approach to tech regulation: "Every week you see [the EU] going after Facebook and Apple and all of these companies... The European Union is suing them all of the time. Well, we should be doing this. They're our companies. So, [the EU is] actually attacking our companies, but we should be doing what they're doing." Trump continues to critique corporate mergers, claiming "too much concentration of power in the hands of too few." 

No known position: Former Governor Bill Weld

Democratic Candidates

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Former Vice President Joe Biden

The Biden campaign told POLITICO "that the former vice president is broadly concerned about economic concentration and would 'aggressively' use antitrust law and other tools to ensure that 'all corporations' do right by their workers and customers." Further, the campaign said that Biden "doesn't think a president should tell antitrust enforcers which companies to go after."

Biden, a supporter of empowering federal investigators to look further into antitrust cases, has stated, "I don't think we spend nearly enough time focusing on antitrust measures."

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Representative Tulsi Gabbard

Gabbard backed Warren’s proposal on breaking up the large technology companies, in favor of designating them as “platform utilities” instead, in addition to introducing her own legislation along similar lines. Gabbard tweeted “Absolute power corrupts absolutely. I agree with Senator Warren on the need to break up big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Amazon. Will be introducing similar legislation in U.S. House.”