Antitrust crackdowns on Big Tech will not help customers

Reprinted from internal source

In the exciting days of the last decade of net-neutral warfare, technology workers and companies have warned of a catastrophic situation without it: Internet toll lanes, data blocking and slow speeds.

If Washington did not re-classify Internet service providers as public utilities and did not oversee the Federal Communications Commission, they argued, our entire online experience would change for the worse.

Now, five years after FCC Chair Ajit Pai repealed Net Neutrality, online speeds are reaching record highs, there are more Americans online than ever before, and the Internet economy has become an influential force in American society. It’s more open than ever.

Forever volatile, however, many of these same activists have sidelined the flag of the war of net-neutrality for a new political battle: using distrust laws to break up and restrict innovative technology companies.

Instead of talking about an authoritarian online future, today’s activists and politicians lament multiple “technological monopolies” and their apparent control over our lives and data.

The most heavily targeted companies are Amazon, Meta Platform, Google and Apple, which together provide a suite of products and services that employ millions of Americans, used by an overwhelming majority of Internet users and value countless entrepreneurs and organizations. That depends on them.

That said, each of these companies is facing lawsuits from state attorney generals, pending congressional legislation, or higher regulatory scrutiny of their business transactions.

While there is good reason to criticize each individual company for its own actions and policies, banning or suspending social media accounts or choosing their own products in their marketplaces is a move to invite regulators to take more control over how these companies operate. Far away

The suspension of a controversial Twitter or Facebook account should not be a catalyst for any federal regulator to determine which services a firm will offer.

The fact remains that the technology sector is incredibly competitive and offers a wide range of products and services that cater to the interests of its customers.

If you’re tired of Facebook or Twitter, you can host your own Mastodon server or Matrix chat. If YouTube doesn’t host your favorite content, you can easily sign up for Rumble or Odyssey. And if you can’t stand Amazon, Shopify is empowering millions of entrepreneurs with other outlets to list their products for clients. The choices are endless.

As a consumer advocate, that’s why I get frustrated when I see the emergence of a broader coalition, such as the “fight for the future” lobbying for strict distrust enforcement on American innovation, and hosting various antitrust campaigns.

This alliance includes many of my favorite and frequently used companies, including Automatic (WordPress), Brave Browser, Protonmail, and Spotify, but also a lot of pressure groups that have long sought to reduce innovation and free enterprise.

These companies are expected to be threatened by the big technology companies, but it should be a concern for consumers to partner with political forces to appeal to the government to make them direct or indirect competitors.

If Congress succeeds in changing the no-confidence law to curb technological power, it will not be for the benefit of ordinary users and online consumers. Rather, it will meet the political goals of an alliance that seeks to reduce much more than consolidation and acquisition: some political discourse, the movement they perceive as hostile, and products that they would rather not have access to consumers.

An antitrust crackdown will not help ordinary conservatives on Facebook or liberal environmentalists on YouTube. Inviting the government to say more about what is in your newsfeed or who provides your email will only limit and harm consumer choice.

If the actions of disbelief go too far, it will not provide us with an era of perfect competition or huge choice. This would discourage Internet customers from innovating options and put an end to entrepreneurial forces that allowed them to grow and pay off. We should be warned in advance.

Yale Osowski

Yale Osowski is deputy director of the Consumer Choice Center, a DC-based, millennial activism group that advocates for greater consumer choice.

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