The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee has approved a report that accuses companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google of acting as a monopoly. According to Reuters, the more-than-400 page report — the first such congressional review of the industry — became official on Thursday (April 15) following a lengthy hearing and a 24-17 vote along party lines. The tech companies in question have denied wrongdoing, Reuters said.
First issued last October, the report argues for sweeping changes to antitrust law and details dozens of instances in which the companies allegedly abused their power.
“Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook each hold monopoly power over significant sectors of our economy. This monopoly moment must end,” U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., said in a statement. “Now that the Judiciary Committee has formally adopted our findings, I look forward to crafting legislation that addresses the significant concerns we have raised.”
The report follows legislation introduced in March designed to give news organizations an easier time negotiating collectively with platforms like Google and Facebook. Senator Amy Klobuchar introduced a large bill in February in hopes of giving the government more power to stop mergers.
The Cicilline report includes suggestions that range from aggressive moves like prohibiting companies like Amazon from operating the markets in which they also compete, to softer suggestions like extending more funding for the agencies responsible for enforcing antitrust law. The report also calls on Congress to give antitrust enforcers more leeway to prevent companies from purchasing potential rivals.
The report comes two days after Senator Josh Hawley, R-MO, introduced a bill designed to strengthen antitrust enforcement. Hawley’s bill would prevent all mergers and acquisitions for companies valued at more than $100 billion. The bill would also let the Federal Trade Commission create a new way for recognizing “dominant digital firms” that exercise power in particular internet markets, prohibiting them from buying out the competition.
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