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Tech Giants Under Antitrust Scrutiny

Image Credit: Axios

Where will the government draw the line on big tech?

The US Department of Justice has brought into focus a big case against tech giants at the Antitrust New Frontiers Conference held in Tel Aviv on Tuesday. The main concern: that the government’s supposed “lax oversight” of the technology industry may be “doing more harm than good”.

After the news of antitrust officials looking into tech companies broke out last week, several companies suffered significant drops in market shares.

Indeed, various sections of the government are now starting to take notice of the potentially monopolistic power of these big tech companies. The Federal Trade Commission has reportedly begun its investigation on Facebook and Amazon, while the DOJ itself is investigating Alphabet. The latter is also planning to look into Apple in the future.

“We already have in our possession the tools we need to enforce the antitrust laws in cases involving digital technologies,” says Makan Delrahim, the DOJ’s current assistant attorney general. “US antitrust law is flexible enough to be applied to markets old and new.”

Although there are several problems that are being pointed out regarding tech companies operating in this digital world, one of the biggest things mentioned in the hearing is how the promulgation of digital platforms is killing off traditional, or smaller, industries.

Some examples are Amazon, hurting smaller retailers, and Facebook and other online social media platforms hurting traditional news agencies. According to some lawmakers, traditional news agencies are already finding it hard to find ways to earn revenue when most advertisers would rather advertise on Facebook instead.

“Smaller news organizations don’t stand a fair negotiating chance when they try to negotiate deals with the platform giants,” says Rep. Doug Collins, a Georgia Republican. “These giants stand as a bottleneck—a classic antitrust problem—between consumers and the producers of news content.”