Lawmakers on Friday debated an antitrust bill that would give news publishers collective bargaining power with online platforms like Facebook and Google, putting the spotlight on a proposal aimed at chipping away at the power of Big Tech.
Google said on Monday that it had not used its multibillion-dollar deals with other large tech firms to protect its position as the dominant online search engine, in the company’s first formal rebuttal to the Justice Department’s accusations that those deals violated antitrust laws.
Ten states led by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) filed an antitrust lawsuit against Google on Wednesday, alleging the tech giant illegally sought to suppress competition and reap massive profits from targeted advertisements placed across the Web.
Lawmakers hammered the chief executives of Twitter, Facebook, Google and one another at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, with Republicans claiming the companies were suppressing conservative views while Democrats accused their colleagues of holding a “sham” hearing for political gain.
For decades, America’s antitrust laws — originally designed to curb the power of 19th-century corporate giants in railroads, oil and steel — have been hailed as “the Magna Carta of free enterprise” and have proved remarkably durable and adaptable.
The Justice Department took a big swing at Google this week, alleging in a lawsuit that it violated antitrust law by stifling competition, particularly with its search engine and lucrative advertising business.
It’s a compelling case, positioning Google as an anticompetitive behemoth that suppresses would-be rivals through exclusive deals and runs up prices for marketers through its byzantine online advertising sales process. Consumers, the Justice Department contends, are suffering from a lack of choice when they search for travel deals, local restaurants and answers to everyday questions.