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America’s new antitrust agenda

 |  February 4, 2019

By Rana Foroohar

Democratic hopefuls are making the case for action against Big Tech

Facebook reminds me of nothing so much as kudzu, an indomitable creeping vine which can be chopped, mowed, sprayed with herbicide or even set on fire, and yet will keep growing, suffocating everything to which it attaches itself. Each week seems to bring a new scandal for the social media company, yet it just beat estimates on revenue, earnings and growth, making more per user than it ever has before.

But US lawmakers are preparing to do what the most aggressive gardeners do to kudzu — inject poison into the roots. Last week, following new revelations about how the company had lured people aged between 13 and 35 into selling their privacy so that Facebook could harvest more of their personal data, Senator Mark Warner announced he had “begun working on legislation that would require large platforms such as Facebook to provide users, on a continual basis, with an estimate of the overall value of their data to the service provider”.

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