President Joe Biden has designated newly confirmed FTC Commissioner Lina Kahn as chair of the agency. Khan was confirmed as fifth commissioner by the Senate Tuesday and the President wasted no time in designating her the new chair and swearing her in.
The acting chair had been Rebecca Kelly Slaughter.
The FTC is under pressure from Congress to exercise more muscular oversight of antitrust, particularly when it comes to Big Tech mergers, and was deeded more responsibility for internet access regulation with the FCC's reclassification of ISPs as a Title I information service. Then there are issues of intellectual property protection in an age where online video is increasingly the delivery system of choice. So, there is plenty to work on over at the FTC.
Khan's appointment as chair was being taken as a sign that the Biden Administration was going to get tough on Big Tech given her history of criticism of the market power of Google, Facebook and others.
Khan is a veteran critic of concentration and anticompetitive market power and was the lead counsel on a House Antitrust investigation into Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple that concluded that those companies had captured control of key distribution channels and function as internet gatekeepers, including by buying up potential competitors.
Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement today after President Biden announced that newly confirmed Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Commissioner Lina Khan will serve as Chair of the agency:
that was just fine with one Big Tech critic--there are many--in Congress.
“I congratulate Chair Khan on her appointment to lead the FTC during this pivotal time for both consumer protection and anti-trust," said House Energy & Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) after the President's decision to make the newly confirmed commissioner the chair as well. "I look forward to working together to put consumers first.
“The FTC is a critical agency and its work has never been more important. I’m committed to empowering the agency and ensuring it has the resources and authority it needs to fulfill its mission," said Pallone.
“I also want to thank Commissioner Slaughter for her dedication and leadership as Acting Chair of the FTC over the last few months. I look forward to continuing to work with her and the rest of the Commission to protect American consumers.”
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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.