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House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee Announces Hearings To Curb Platform Dominance

 |  February 18, 2021

The House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law announced it will hold a series of hearings starting next week, to consider legislative proposals to address the rise and abuse of market power online and to modernize the antitrust laws

The first hearing, entitled, “Reviving Competition, Part 1: Proposals to Address Gatekeeper Power and Lower Barriers to Entry Online,” will take place on February 25th at 10:00 a.m. E.T.

The hearings will launch the Committee’s competition agenda in the 117th Congress following its 16-month, bipartisan investigation into the state of competition online, which examined (1) competition problems in digital markets; (2) whether dominant firms had engaged in anticompetitive conduct online; and (3) the adequacy of current laws and enforcement levels to address these issues. 

As part of this top-to-bottom review, the Subcommittee received 1.3 million internal documents and communications from dominant online platforms; submissions from 38 antitrust experts; interviewed more than 240 market participants, former employees of the investigated platforms, and other individuals; and held seven hearings, including one with the Chief Executive Officers of Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. 

The investigation culminated in a comprehensive report entitled Investigation of Competition in the Digital Marketplace: Majority Staff Report and Recommendations, which totaled more than 450-pages and included a number of recommendations. The Report is available here.

“For too long, the dominance of a handful of gatekeepers online has wreaked havoc on competition, suppressed innovation, and weakened entrepreneurship,” said Subcommittee on Antitrust Chairman David N. Cicilline. “During our investigation into the rise and abuse of monopoly power online, we uncovered significant evidence of anticompetitive conduct and harmful business practices by Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple that enabled these companies to entrench their monopoly power, abuse competitors, and harm consumers. After publishing a comprehensive report documenting this conduct, I pledged to undertake a series of legislative reforms to restore competition online and to strengthen the antitrust laws. I look forward to working on a bipartisan basis to do just that.”

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