Wall Street critic Warren promises to dismantle Amazon, Facebook, Google


NEW YORK (Reuters) – Senator Elizabeth Warren promised Friday to dismantle Amazon, Google and Facebook if she was elected president of the United States to promote competition in the technology sector.

Seeking to stand out in an overpopulated world claiming to be the Democratic presidential candidate by 2020, Warren said during an election campaign in Queens that it was time to challenge the growing dominance of the biggest tech companies US.

"We have these giant tech companies who think they are ruling the planet," she told a crowd of about 300 people in Long Island City. "I do not want a government that is here to work for the tech giants. I want a government that is here to work for the people. "

In February, Amazon broke plans to build an important neighborhood outpost that could have created 25,000 jobs, accusing opposition from local leaders.

At an event that took place not far from the site proposed by Amazon, Warren said that big tech companies were coming to cities, towns, and states and "inciting everyone to do that." that he wanted "and" went back "to the small businesses and startups that posed a threat.

"Giants are not allowed to buy the competition. Competition needs opportunities to thrive and grow, "she said.

Some of those present said that they did not know enough about Warren's proposal to fully support her, but that they trusted her policy expertise.

"What I like is that it offers great ideas. I think it's important, "said lawyer Kate Aufses, 32, who said she was undecided about the Democratic candidate she would support.

Earlier in the day, Warren had stated in a message on medium.com/@teamwarren/heres-how-we-can-break-up-big-tech-9ad9e0da324c on Medium that she would propose regulators to proceed with acquisitions such as Facebook's offers for WhatsApp. and Instagram, Amazon offers for Whole Foods and Zappos, and Waze, Nest and DoubleClick purchases by Google.

Shares of Facebook Inc (FB.O) finished up 0.3% on Friday, while Google (GOOGL.O) fell 0.08% and Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) lost 0.3%.

Warren has also proposed legislation that would require high-tech companies such as Google and Amazon that offer a market or online market to refrain from competition on their own platform. This would prohibit, for example, Amazon from selling on its Amazon Marketplace platform.

Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comments. Facebook declined to comment.

It is rare that the government seeks to cancel an agreement reached. The most famous case of recent memory is the government's effort to dismantle Microsoft. The Department of Justice won a preliminary victory in 2000, but was reversed on appeal. The case settled with Microsoft intact.


The US Congress held a series of hearings last year on the dominance of large technology companies and their role in displacing or ingesting existing businesses, among others.

Amazon's business model has replaced traditional stores and the company has been criticized for poorly paying its warehouse workers.

Facebook angered lawmakers who lost track of user data and did nothing to stop foreign interference in the 2016 US presidential election.

Google has run into small businesses, such as Yelp, about placements in the search engine and has expressed concern that it will not comply with China's policy of censorship and surveillance. The Internet if it re-entered the search engine market of the Asian nation.

NetChoice, an e-commerce group that Facebook and Google are members of, said Warren's plan would result in higher prices.

"Senator Warren is wrong to say that the technology markets lack competition. Never before have consumers and workers had more online access to goods, services and opportunities, "said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice.

In Washington, Tom Donohue, president of the American Chamber of Commerce, said the dismantling of the big tech companies "would take us back to the stone age."

"This is not a vision for the future, but an archaic idea that should be thrown in the trash of your computer," he said.

Public Knowledge, a technology policy group, said Warren's plan was a step forward in protecting the next generation of companies, but he did not give in to full support for breaking the giants of the war. technology.

Tim Wu, a professor of law, science and technology at Columbia Law School, who coined the term "network neutrality" and warned against an economy dominated by a few giant firms, said in a tweet that "we are not in the business". it was "encouraging" to see the idea of ​​breaking the tech giants gain some traction.

Technology companies are among the largest political donors. Google has spent $ 21 million to lobby in 2018, Amazon, $ 14.2 million and Facebook, $ 12.62 million, according to their statements to the US Congress.

Democrat, thwarting a good industry in his pocket could hurt Democrats, but that should not be a big concern for Warren, who left his political mark and many enemies by attacking the big banks after the financial crisis of 2007-09. In the Senate, Warren continues to be a virulent Wall Street critic and leader of his party's progressive wing.

Other Democratic candidates have also weighed in on the issue.

Senator Amy Klobuchar used her campaigning speech to promise to take action on digital issues such as privacy, saying "big tech companies" were misusing their data personal.

In 2018, Sen. Bernie Sanders even named the Stop BEZOS Act, founder of Amazon's Jeff Bezos, which would tax big business if their employees enjoyed public benefits.

Reportage of Diane Bartz and Daniel Trotta; edited by Meredith Mazzilli, Leslie Adler and Sonya Hepinstall

The principles of Thomson Reuters Trust.

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