Groups Plan Antitrust Day Targeting Big Tech

Antitrust Day

In an example of somewhat smaller tech going after bigger tech, Yelp and DuckDuckGo are joining with civil society groups to hold an Antitrust Day April 4.

That is according to one of those groups, Fight for the Future, which is fighting for a future with stronger antitrust rules for Big Tech.

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Both the Biden Administration and legislators on both sides of the aisle have drilled down on the largest tech platforms and whether they have been able to buy up to dominance or virtual monopoly by gobbling up potential competitors before the deals are big enough to raise red flags. Critics of those efforts have argued that basically describes the tech startup path to champagne-popping exits and would discourage both those startups and the venture capital that powers it.

In addition to signing on to a letter to Congress supporting various Big Tech targeted bills, the groups will join their voices April 4 to urge yes votes on bills they said will "restore competition, innovation, and choice online."

Participating groups including Consumer Reports, Demand Progress, Public Knowledge, and EFF will also be backing various related initiatives to "amplify" Antitrust Day.

"Reports from the United States and governments around the world reveal that a few large technology companies are abusing their dominant positions in the market to undermine competition, to the detriment of consumers and innovation," said the groups. "The antitrust bills would bar many of the anticompetitive tactics employed by these companies, helping to restore competition in the market, and ensure that consumers are unencumbered in choosing the services they want."

“A bipartisan, overwhelming majority of Americans support strengthening our antitrust laws," said Luther Lowe, senior VP of public policy for Yelp. "It is time for Congress to pass narrowly tailored legislation to curb the most egregious forms of self-dealing by Big Tech. These reforms are long overdue.”

Some of the proposed bills would prevent future buy-ups, but also potentially retroactively break up some past combinations, as well as seek hefty civil penalties for violators. ■

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.