A coalition of small tech companies and small business advocates have teamed up to support a series of bipartisan anti-Big Tech antitrust bills that are gaining momentum in Congress.
The coalition, led by Fight for the Future, a liberal advocacy organization critical of the tech companies, is also aggressively condemning tech giants such as Amazon and Google for reportedly running fake grassroots campaigns that claim to have the support of small businesses to oppose the bills.
“They’ve resorted to funding lies and astroturf operations in order to fake grassroots support for their corporate policy goals,” said Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future.
“It’s almost like they don’t care if they get caught. Their goal is to sow enough doubt that it gives lawmakers cover to vote against their constituents interests and in favor of corporate interests,” said Greer.
APPLE APPS, GOOGLE SEARCH, AND AMAZON BASICS FACE DRASTIC CHANGES FROM BIPARTISAN HOUSE ANTITRUST BILL
A tech industry trade group funded by Amazon and Google, the "Connected Commerce Council," or 3C, claimed to advocate small businesses and listed thousands of them as “members” on their website, reporting by CNBC and Politico from earlier this week revealed. Many of these small businesses said say they’d never heard of 3C and were not actually members of the group.
Rob Retzlaff, the executive director of 3C, told the outlets all of the businesses listed as members on the website have signed up for at least one of the group's campaigns, such as their in-person events, email lists, or the group’s small business resources.
The antitrust legislation is needed because the Big Tech companies have abused their dominant positions in the market to stifle competition, minimize choice, and entrench their own power to earn higher profits, according to the coalition.
The anti-Big Tech coalition includes tech companies that form what they call "the rest of the Internet," examples being Tinder, OK Cupid, Spotify, Tumblr, Wordpress, Yelp, and small business advocates such as Main Street Alliance, Small Business Majority, and Small Business Rising.
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The bipartisan antitrust legislative package, which passed the House Judiciary Committee last June, includes six sweeping antitrust bills aimed at reining in tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Google, and Facebook. Three of the House bipartisan bills also have Senate counterparts, which have also advanced out of committee on a bipartisan basis.
The legislation marks Washington’s most significant and serious attempt yet to reshape the technology industry.