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Antitrust Enforcers Should Look More At Big Tech Says Lina Khan

 |  April 22, 2021

Columbia Law School professor Lina Khan, whom President Joe Biden has nominated to serve on the Federal Trade Commission, told lawmakers antitrust enforcers need to scrutinize the power that large technology companies have over digital markets, from app stores to online journalism., Bloomberg reported.

Khan, testifying before the Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday, April 21, said Apple and Google in particular have too much power, according to Bloomberg. She cited Apple’s taking of 30% commission from developers as something that can’t be justified.

Khan, 32, is the first Biden nominee for an antitrust position. Bloomberg reported that she came to prominence with a research paper about Amazon, in which she argued that the eCommerce giant represents a harmful monopoly and puts practices in play that merit a rethinking of antitrust enforcement in the US.

Khan spoke in her testimony of some missed opportunities in the recent past to stop acquisitions because of a “mistaken” view that digital markets should be disrupted by new competitors, according to Bloomberg. She said it is important to be “more vigilant” in the examining of some of the acquisitions.

For journalism in particular, Khan said the dominance of digital ads and the “arbitrary” power of algorithms have damaged smaller, more local publishing, Bloomberg reported.

Khan has worked as an advisor for the FTC and helped author the findings of a 16-month investigation into Apple, Google, Amazon and Facebook that took aim at their allegedly abusive gatekeeping powers, according to Bloomberg. During her testimony, Sen. Mike Lee of Utah inquired if that work would force her to recuse herself on investigating the companies, and Khan responded she had no financial conflicts, although she said she would follow all ethics guidelines.