Reining In Big Tech

May 7, 2021 • Volume 31, Issue 17
Should the four giants be dismantled?
By Reed Karaim

Introduction

Four technology companies — Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple — known as Big Tech have transformed how people around the world shop, communicate and gather information. These economic powerhouses have a combined market value of more than $6 trillion, larger than the gross national product of any country except the United States and China. Their CEOs point out that the companies have brought millions of low-cost products and services to billions of customers, but critics say they are powerful monopolies that treat competitors unfairly and stifle innovation. Critics also say the companies' control of social media and online searches endangers democracy by fostering divisiveness and spreading alarming conspiracy theories. The U.S. Department of Justice has sued Google and Facebook for alleged antitrust activities, and the European Union is suing or investigating all four for alleged violations of antitrust or privacy laws. Meanwhile, bipartisan support is growing in Congress for restricting or dismantling the tech giants. Supporters, however, say the benefits the companies provide depend on their large size and breaking them up could do more harm than good.

Photo of 100 cardboard cutouts of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg placed outside of the U.S. Capitol on April 10, 2018. (AFP/Getty Images/Saul Loeb)
Critics of Facebook placed 100 cardboard cutouts of CEO Mark Zuckerberg outside the U.S. Capitol in April 2018 to spotlight what they said were hundreds of millions of fake accounts spreading disinformation on the platform. The growing power of Big Tech has sparked discussion on the need to rein in the sector. (AFP/Getty Images/Saul Loeb)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Consumer Protection
May 07, 2021  Reining In Big Tech
Nov. 27, 2020  Protecting Consumer Finances
Sep. 27, 2019  ESG Investing
Sep. 06, 2019  Health and Safety Regulations
Mar. 16, 2018  The Fight Over Net Neutrality
Mar. 11, 2016  Arbitrating Disputes
Nov. 11, 2011  Google's Dominance
Jan. 23, 2009  Regulating Toxic Chemicals
Dec. 19, 2008  Limiting Lawsuits
Oct. 12, 2007  Consumer Safety
Feb. 17, 1978  Consumer Protection: Gains and Setbacks
Nov. 15, 1972  Toy Safety
Mar. 03, 1960  Consumer Protection
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Antitrust and Monopolies
Campaign Finance
Campaign Finance
Campaigns and Elections
Campaigns and Elections
Computers and the Internet
Congress Actions
Conservatism and Liberalism
Consumer Behavior
Consumer Protection and Product Liability
Economic Development
Employee Benefits
General Employment and Labor
General International Relations
General Social Trends
International Economic Development
Internet and Social Media
Lobbying and Special Interests
Party Politics
Party Politics
Powers and History of the Presidency
Regulation and Deregulation
Regulation and Legal Issues
Telecommunications and Wireless Technologies
Unions and Labor-Management Relations