AP NEWS

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez supports taking ‘antitrust approach’ to break up big tech monopolies

May 4, 2019

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, New York Democrat, has signaled her support for breaking up big tech firms as proposed by presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Massachusetts Democrat.

“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,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez said during an interview, Politico reported Friday.

A self-described democratic socialist elected in 2018, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez singled out both Amazon and Facebook in the interview as potential target of possible trust-busting, Politico reported.

Amazon’s role as “both the marketplace, producer, seller ... creates an antitrust issue,” said the first-term congresswoman, Politico reported.

“Facebook as a basic communications platform while also selling ads and also being a surveillance platform, I think those functions 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,” she added, according to the report.

Amazon declined to comment specifically on the congresswoman’s remarks but noted that most items bought through its services in recent years were sold by third-parties.

“We helped independent sellers compete against our first-party business by investing in and offering them the very best selling tools we could imagine and build,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote shareholders last month.

Facebook did not immediately returned a equest for comment.

One of more than 20 candidates seeking the Democratic nomination to run against President Trump in 2020, Ms. Warren has campaigned on plans to “break up Big Tech” and has promised to make changes if elected to promote more competition within Silicon Valley.

“Today’s big tech companies have too much power  too much power over our economy, our society and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation,” Ms. Warren said in March.

Republicans have raised similar concerns in recent months from across the aisle, meanwhile, particularly in light of complaints about major social media companies censoring users.

“The big tech companies are larger and more powerful than the Standard Oil was when it was broken up. They’re larger and more powerful than ATT when it was broken up. And if we have tech companies using their monopoly to censor political speech, I think that raises real antitrust issues,” Sen. Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, said last month.

More recently, Mr. Trump said Friday on Twitter that he was “continuing to monitor the censorship of AMERICAN CITIZENS on social media platforms.”