Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren is proposing to break up the largest technology companies, including Amazon.com, Alphabet’s Google and Facebook, calling them anti-competitive behemoths that are crowding out competition.
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.
“Twenty-five years ago, Facebook, Google, and Amazon didn’t exist,” Warren wrote in a post on Medium Friday. “Now they are among the most valuable and well-known companies in the world. It’s a great story — but also one that highlights why the government must break up monopolies and promote competitive markets.”
Facebook declined to comment. Representatives of Google and Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for a reaction. Shares of Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook all extended losses on the news, sliding as much as 1.5 percent. The stocks were already lower after disappointing payrolls data.
“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren said. “They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.”
Warren said “weak antitrust enforcement” has resulted in a reduction of competition and innovation in the tech sector and lax venture capitalist investment in new startups to compete with big tech companies “because it’s so easy for the big companies to either snap up growing competitors or drive them out of business.”
Warren’s economic populism, paired with fierce attacks on corporations and wealthy Americans who she says are rigging the system for self-interest, is at the heart of her campaign in a crowded field of contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.