A very antitrust situation

Posted by The Financial Times

A very antitrust situation

By Rana Foroohar 

Last week, my colleague Ed asked readers to “think bigly” about a grand strategy around foreign policy.

This week, I’ll borrow another unique piece of locution from Our Leader and ask Swampians to consider how the president is politicising a “very antitrust situation” involving platform technology firms like Google, Amazon and Facebook. Trump has complained that Google’s search results are shutting out conservative voices. Likewise, attorney-general Jeff Sessions has said he plans to meet state AGs to discuss how platform firms are “hurting competition and intentionally stifling the free exchange of ideas”. All this, came just before the Senate intelligence committee heard from Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey last week about the role platform firms may have played in 2016 election manipulation.

But far from helping Washington look at the very real issues of monopoly power in technology, the president’s involvement is — what a surprise — pulling everyone’s attention in just the wrong direction. Silicon Valley leans left politically (although I’d argue its true ideology is libertarianism) but there are no evil geniuses sitting in towers in the Googleplex trying to stifle conservative voices. Every platform tech firm has its algorithmic biases, and those need to be much better understood, as the FT wrote last week. But by making the issue of monopoli


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