Towards a Global Big Tech Clampdown?
6 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2021 Last revised: 13 Feb 2021
Date Written: January 19, 2021
Is the tide changing for big tech companies? Legal challenges against them appear to be mounting across the world. In October 2020, a subcommittee of the US House of Representatives published a report on competition in digital markets, highlighting some of the worrying practices of GAFA (Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple) and proposing ways to rein in their market power. It was soon followed by a historic lawsuit against Facebook, filed by the Federal Trade Commission. On the other side of the Atlantic, the European Commission unveiled the Digital Services Act package, proposing new rules to ‘create a safer and more open digital space’. The initiative encompasses rules for the digital market, and aims to impose special obligations on large platforms acting as ‘gatekeepers’. The Commission further issued statement of objections against Amazon, suspected of using independent sellers’ non-public data for its own benefit. China is also tightening the grip on its own big tech ecosystem, with regulatory proposals to control market power, an investigation into Alibaba’s monopolistic practices, and fines on Alibaba and others for failing to report their mergers. This article discusses these recent developments, and assesses the road ahead for tech giants.
Keywords: big tech, antitrust, competition law, digital economy, data protection, tech giants, competition policy, European Union, EU, United States, US, China, Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple, Alibaba, Tencent, GAFA
JEL Classification: K20, K21, L12, L13, L40, L41, L43, L44, L51, M20, M21, M38, O00, O51, O52, O53, O57
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation