Regulation

Poll: Most Americans Against Breakup Of Tech Cos

Senator Elizabeth Warren

A new poll has revealed that most Americans aren't on board with Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s plan to break up large technology companies.

According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll, by 50 percent to 47 percent, Americans disagree with Warren's plans to split big tech companies like Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google into smaller competing companies. By 68 percent to 28 percent, those surveyed said this should instead be left to the free market rather than government.

Last month, Warren pitched a proposal to make certain firms “platform utilities,” which would be defined as firms that have worldwide revenues of at least $25 billion. Those would be firms that connect third parties or offer an exchange or marketplace. Warren is proposing that these firms would not be able to own platform participants and the utility itself.

In addition, Warren wants to have regulators undo mergers she says are “anti-competitive” like the acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon or the purchase of Instagram or WhatsApp by Facebook.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy,” Warren wrote in a blog post. Warren continued, “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.”

But while Americans might not be ready to force tech companies to break up, that doesn't mean they trust them. The poll shows that 92 percent don't trust Facebook to protect their personal information. Google and Amazon came out slightly better.

“That’s why I participate in very few things,” said Douglas Libby of Madison, Maine. “I don’t have Facebook, I don’t tweet … I refuse to, just because I don’t want Uncle Sam or Big Brother looking over my shoulder.”

In addition, the majority of respondents say social media divides Americans, wastes time, spreads lies and promotes unfair attacks on public figures and corporations. And only 36 percent say they are satisfied with the amount of federal oversight and regulation of these companies.

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