On Friday, a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed a slew of antitrust bills, including one that could split up huge internet companies with conflicting commercial interests.
One of the five proposals included in the package was the Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which could force huge corporations to divide up or spin off operations that pose a conflict of interest. The bill would make it illegal for Internet platforms to own businesses that induce them to favor their own products over those available on their platforms.
Amazon, for example, has been chastised by lawmakers for selling its own branded products on its website, raising questions about whether it is fairly marketing competitor products.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Washington, is the bill’s sponsor. Her district contains Amazon’s Seattle headquarters.
Another provision in the package would prohibit firms from prioritizing their own items on their platforms, and a third would strengthen merger scrutiny.
In addition, lawmakers recommended raising the filing fees paid to antitrust regulators for merger evaluations and allowing users to transfer data between large platforms.
The plans are thought to be directed at Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon, and will only effect companies with a market value of $600 billion and 500,000 or more monthly active users.
Healthy competition in the IT sector is a priority for politicians on both sides of the aisle, though there isn’t always agreement on how to reach that aim through regulation. It’s unclear whether the legislation submitted on Friday would receive the votes needed to pass both chambers.
Meanwhile, several legal actions are being pursued to guarantee that businesses do not participate in monopolistic behavior.
According to FOX Business, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit this week trying to categorize Google as a public utility in the state, citing the company’s dominance in online search.
The company’s ability to feature its own products on its results pages is the subject of the complaint.
Google agreed to pay $268 million to settle an antitrust complaint in France last week. It also claimed to make Internet advertising easier for businesses.
The D.C. Attorney General sued Amazon for anti-competitive practices late last month.
Federal officials sued Facebook in 2020. Google was sued by the Department of Justice in October for antitrust violations