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Bipartisan Bill, targeting Amazon, Facebook, to be introduced next week

Amazon, as per a Reuters investigation this week, is accused of using data from third-party sellers to determine products it would create.

SNS | New York |

A group of lawmakers, comprising both sides of the US political aisle will float bipartisan legislation to bar Big Tech platforms like Amazon and Alphabet’s Google, from favouring their own stuff. The lawmakers are led by Senators Amy Klobuchar, Democrat, and Chuck Grassley, Republican,

The Klobuchar-Grassley number aims at reining in tech firms, including industry leaders Facebook and Apple. Past attempts on these lines have failed although one, a broader measure to increase resources for antitrust enforcers, has passed the Senate.

Amazon, as per a Reuters investigation this week, is accused of using data from third-party sellers to determine products it would create.

Reuters said it reviewed “thousands of internal Amazon documents, that the US company’s India operations ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own private brands in the country, one of the company’s largest growth markets.”

There are real dangers on platforms like Instagram and Facebook for kids and teens. Today I met with Minnesota families to hear from them about their concerns around the content pushed to their kids and how these platforms are using their data, Klobuchar tweeted on Thursday.

“When dominant tech companies exclude rivals & kill competition, it hurts small businesses and can increase costs for YOU. My new bipartisan legislation with @ChuckGrassley will establish new rules of the road to prevent large companies from boxing out their smaller competitors,” the breast cancer survivor who conceded her presidential running mate slot to Kamala Harris, added on her timeline with 1.7 million follows.

“BigTech is dominant/controlling over what Americans can buy/see/say–able 2pick winners & losers As gatekeepers for other biz to reach consumers they shouldn’t preference or discriminate Need 2hv fair playing field 4 competition So I have bipart bill w Klobuchar and other Rs to fix this,” Senator Chuck Grassley added.

Text of the full statement on Thursday spells worry for Big Tech.

“The American Innovation and Choice Online Act sets commonsense rules of the road for major digital platforms to ensure they cannot unfairly preference their own products and services. US Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Competition Policy, Antitrust, and Consumer Rights, and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced today that they will introduce bipartisan legislation to restore competition online by establishing commonsense rules of the road for dominant digital platforms to prevent them from abusing their market power to harm competition, online businesses, and consumers.”

“American prosperity was built on a foundation of open markets and fair competition, but right now our country faces a monopoly problem, and American consumers, workers, and businesses are paying the price,” said Klobuchar.

“As Big Tech has grown and evolved over the years, our laws have not changed to keep up and ensure these companies are competing fairly. These companies have continued to become a larger part of our everyday lives and the global economy, controlling what we see and how we engage on the internet,” said Grassley.

“Big Tech needs to be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner. Our bill will help create a more even playing field and ensure that small businesses are able to compete with these platforms.”

“Choice is fundamental to competition. American consumers have been systematically denied access to critical information about their market choices. This new bill will fight strong-arm tactics used by Big Tech to disadvantage their consumers and exclude competitors from the marketplace,” said Durbin.

“The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is bipartisan, bicameral legislation that will create clear rules for the fair competition online by banning monopolistic behavior that stacks the deck in favor of platform monopolies and against American businesses, workers, and consumers. I applaud Chairwoman Klobuchar, Chairman Durbin, and Ranking Member Grassley for leading this critical effort in the Senate. Congress must move swiftly to enact this important legislation,” said Cicilline.

The bill, which Klobuchar’s office said would be introduced early next week, would be a companion to a measure that has passed the House Judiciary Committee. It must pass both houses of Congress to become law.

The Klobuchar and Grassley bill would specifically prohibit platforms from requiring companies operating on their sites to purchase the platform’s goods or services and ban them from biasing search results to favor the platform.

(With IANS inputs)