The House Judiciary Committee has announced that it will investigate if major tech companies such as Facebook, Google and Amazon are using their power to stifle the competition, with the bipartisan investigation deciding whether Congress needs to pass stricter antitrust laws.
“The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) said in a press release. “But there is growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content, and communications. Given the growing tide of concentration and consolidation across our economy, it is vital that we investigate the current state of competition in digital markets and the health of the antitrust laws.”
The investigation will focus on three main areas: documenting competition problems in digital markets; examining whether dominant firms are engaging in anti-competitive conduct; and assessing whether existing antitrust laws, competition policies, and current enforcement levels are adequate to address these issues.
“Big Tech plays a huge role in our economy and our world,” said Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA). “As tech has expanded its market share, more and more questions have arisen about whether the market remains competitive. Our bipartisan look at competition in the digital markets gives us the chance to answer these questions and, if necessary, to take action.”
The announcement comes after reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) are sharing in the task of investigating tech giants. The FTC is expected to be in charge of investigating Facebook and Amazon, while the DOJ would look into Google and Apple.
“This is the first time there’s been an investigation of this magnitude in decades, and frankly it’s long overdue,” Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), who chairs the Judiciary antitrust subcommittee, said, according to The Hill.