Congress, Antitrust and Big Tech.

For the digital media obsessed parties out there (guilty), we know you already know most of the info we’re about to share. However, if you’re lost in cyberspace then you’ve landed in the right place! We’re giving you a recap of what’s happening with congress, antitrust and big tech. Buckle up, kids.

Tech giants Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple are facing scrutiny from Congress regarding antitrust laws. The case against the companies isn’t completely clear, but essentially Congress is looking into how these companies affect the news media landscape and if old school antitrust laws can prevent anticompetitive behavior.  

What we’ve got here, ladies and gents, is Big Media v. Big Tech, with one side claiming the other is negatively impacting their business.

Ashkan Soltani, former chief technologist at the FTC, was quoted by CNBC saying, “Of the bipartisan tech issues, [antitrust] is one of the biggest. Conservatives don’t want overregulation, but they have huge concerns around abuse of monopoly power.”

This investigation is the first congressional exploration into accusations that the companies are engaged in anticompetitive behavior and there is legislation working that would allow local news organizations to band together to negotiate with the dominant platforms over access and quality.

If you need this broken down further, news publications are basically arguing that they are not receiving the credit they deserve for the journalism they produce due to digital content crawling. And while revenue for companies like Google rise while they provide free content to users, the journalists creating the content and news outlets who need to charge small fees to access content to stay afloat, are falling behind.

On Tuesday, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim delivered a speech at the Antitrust New Frontiers Conference in Tel Aviv that seemed to outline some of the possible attacks Big Tech might face. It may not be solely about proper compensation, but these companies could also be hit on quality of information and products/goods, the theory of exclusivity as it pertains to diminishing competition and the effect a monopoly may have on innovation.

The expected goal is for tech executives to be part of the lawmakers’ discussions. If that will come to fruition, only time will tell.

This is the beginning of a very long journey and FIG will do our best to keep you updated on where this story is headed and what it could mean for the digital space.

Stay tuned, FIG fam!