Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to dissuade Congress’ efforts to regulate Big Tech firms.
As The New York Times revealed:
The antitrust bills were rushed, he said. They would crimp innovation. And they would hurt consumers by disrupting the services that power Apple’s lucrative iPhone, Mr. Cook cautioned at various points, according to five people with knowledge of the conversations.
The phone call was one manifestation of a massive lobbying effort from Big Tech companies:
The calls by Mr. Cook are part of a forceful and wide-ranging pushback by the tech industry since the proposals were announced this month. Executives, lobbyists, and more than a dozen think tanks and advocacy groups paid by tech companies have swarmed Capitol offices, called and emailed lawmakers and their staff members, and written letters arguing there will be dire consequences for the industry and the country if the ideas become law.
Lobbyists and top executives from Amazon and Google have also pressured Congress in recent days as both Republicans and Democrats supported proposals that would regulate Silicon Valley. Lawmakers from the former party are primarily concerned about restrictions on free speech; lawmakers from the latter are worried about high market concentration.
Two weeks ago, a bipartisan group in the House of Representatives unveiled a series of bills meant to “expand opportunities for consumers, workers, and small business owners by holding unregulated Big Tech monopolies accountable for anti-competitive conduct.”
Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) explained that “Big Tech has abused its dominance in the marketplace to crush competitors, censor speech, and control how we see and understand the world.”
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) asserted that “not only is self-regulation by Big Tech patently ineffective, but it also comes at the direct expense of workers, consumers, small businesses, our local communities, and the free press.”
Among the proposed bills are:
- The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would prohibit “discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms, including a ban on self-preferencing and picking winners and losers online.”
- The Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which would halt “competitive threats by dominant platforms, as well acquisitions that expand or entrench the market power of online platforms.”
- The Ending Platform Monopolies Act, which would eliminate the ability of dominant platforms to “leverage their control over across multiple business lines to self-preference and disadvantage competitors in ways that undermine free and fair competition.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) recently signed a bill to stop the censorship of Floridians by social media companies.
“This session, we took action to ensure that ‘We the People’ — real Floridians across the Sunshine State — are guaranteed protection against the Silicon Valley elites,” remarked the governor. “Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela. If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”