Elizabeth Warren unveils plan to break up Amazon, Facebook, and Google

Irving Hamilton
March 8, 2019

She issued a campaign pledge on Friday that if she's elected president she'll push to break up big tech companies like Amazon, Facebook and Google. That includes Amazon's acquisitions of Whole Foods and Zappos, Facebook's purchase of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google's deals with Waze, Nest, and DoubleClick.

"Today's big tech companies have too much power - too much power over our economy, our society and our democracy", she wrote in a blog post on Medium ahead of a NY rally where she was to speak about the plan. She says they've "bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else".

Warren was set to speak about the policy to supporters Friday in Long Island City, which would've been home to one of Amazon's headquarters in NY but the tech-conglomerate pulled out of the deal after critics said the city gave them unfair government incentives.

And another senator who has announced a presidential candidacy, the Vermont independent Bernie Sanders, introduced a bill in September that directly targeted Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos for not paying all its US workers $15 an hour. "Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google's ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart".

The Massachusetts senator is calling for legislation that would designate the companies as "platform utilities" and the appointment of regulators who would unwind technology mergers that undermine competition and harm innovation and small businesses. The government's antitrust case against Microsoft helpedclear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge.

The result, Warren highlighted, is stifled competition in the tech industry and increased privacy risks to users.

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She added: "We must help America's content creators - from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians - keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook".

"You'll still be able to go on Google and search like you do today", she explains.

By doing this, she said, "small businesses would have a fair shot to sell their products on Amazon without the fear of Amazon pushing them out of business". Google couldn't smother competitors by demoting their products on Google Search. If it didn't own WhatsApp and Instagram, meanwhile, Facebook "would face real pressure from [both apps] to improve the user experience and protect our privacy".

There have been increasing calls in the press, government, and legal worlds that our current tech giants constitute monopolies the likes of which we haven't seen since the Gilded Age, and that we need to give them the Gilded Age treatment.

Second, my administration would appoint regulators committed to reversing illegal and anti-competitive tech mergers.

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