In March, Senator Elizabeth Warren published her proposal to break up the tech juggernauts — namely, Facebook, Amazon, and Google. On Friday, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has finally endorsed the plan, possibly providing a major boost to the bold Big-Tech regulation and antitrust platform.
Warren released the policy before a rally in Queens, New York, near the site where Amazon intended to build it’s HQ2, taking the strongest stance of all 2020 presidential contenders on regulating the tech industry.
“As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people,” Warren wrote in her original statement on the policy.
“To restore the balance of power in our democracy, to promote competition, and to ensure that the next generation of technology innovation is as vibrant as the last, it’s time to break up our biggest tech companies.”
On Friday, Politico reported that Ocasio-Cortez said in an interview she also supports Warren’s plan to break up Big Tech. “The idea itself is something that I am supportive of because taking an antitrust approach I believe is absolutely relevant and it’s appropriate to take,” Ocasio-Cortez told Politico.
Ocasio-Cortez told the political news outlet that Amazon’s position as “both the marketplace, producer, seller … creates an antitrust issue.” She went on to criticise Facebook’s multiple personalities “as a basic communications platform while also selling ads and also being a surveillance platform,” She said that she thinks the social networks various functionalities “should be broken up, but how that gets levied and how that gets approached is what we need to take a fine-tooth comb at.”
Ocasio-Cortez did not lay out any specific policy suggestions but signalled she had been focusing on the issue. “I think what I’ve been doing more has been getting more overall briefs on this space from academic and legal perspectives,” she told Politico. “It’s something I’ve definitely been keeping an ear on the ground for.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s scepticism of the tech industry is not new. Last year, the Representative was one of the most vocal critics of Amazon building HQ2 in New York, and last month she quit Facebook, deeming social media a “public health risk.” But, as Politico claims, this is the first time Ocasio-Cortez has called for breaking up tech companies.
Most of the 2020 Democrat presidential candidates have taken stances on regulating tech companies, but Politico states that every candidate who has been asked about Warren’s plan for breaking-up Big Tech, has essentially resisted or shied away from explicitly throwing their support behind it.
Strangely, amidst growing concerns over tech platforms censoring radical right-wing personalities, some Republicans seem to be more supportive than Democrats of Warren’s policy.
First time I’ve ever retweeted @ewarren But she’s right—Big Tech has way too much power to silence Free Speech. They shouldn’t be censoring Warren, or anybody else. A serious threat to our democracy. https://t.co/VoesOKSqhA
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) March 12, 2019
While Warren hasn’t garnered much Democratic support for her policy outline on Big Tech, Ocasio-Cortez has gotten support for her Green New Deal from many of the Democratic presidential contenders and her colleagues in the House. Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez’s stamp of approval will encourage other prominent Democrats to take a more aggressive stance on breaking up Big Tech.