President Donald Trump took a swing at Big Tech on Wednesday, saying that the U.S. government “should be suing Google and Facebook and all that.”
Trump spoke out against the companies an interview on Fox Business. He did not give specific reasons for bringing lawsuits against tech giants, but claimed without evidence that Google is trying to rig the 2020 election. He also accused Twitter of making it harder for users on the platform to find and follow his account.
Asked how he would move against Big Tech, Trump said that “You may need legislation in order to create competition.”
He’ll be able to discuss it with the leaders of those companies soon: the president said he will be hosting a social media summit July with leaders of the big tech companies he called out.
Trump’s comments come on the heels of the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) moving to scrutinize Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google on antitrust grounds, which could mean an investigation is underway. According to CNN, the Justice Department will likely be handling any investigations into Google and Apple, while the FTC would handle Amazon and Facebook. In theory, those investigations are supposed to be independent of political bias and separate from the White House.
Trump is not the only politician who has suggested that major tech companies should have less power. The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee has begun an antitrust investigation into the big four tech firms. The issue has become bipartisan, with even Democratic presidential candidates like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard calling for more regulation of big tech.
Other candidates, like former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Kamala Harris, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar have also expressed some mild support for a breakup of tech companies.
Warren’s proposal would explicitly break up bigger companies by forcing Amazon to give up control of Whole Foods and splitting Instagram and WhatsApp from Facebook.
Republican Sen. Josh Hawley introduced legislation that would hold companies like Facebook and Twitter liable for content posted on their platforms unless they could prove to the government that those platforms weren’t politically biased. If passed, it could fundamentally change how you use the internet.
In all, Trump’s comments are another stumbling block for Silicon Valley — and if we start to see some serious enforcement from any branch of government, there’s likely to be significant changes to some of the biggest platforms that billions of people use every day.
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