U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) and a bipartisan group of Senate colleagues led by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) will introduce a new bill to crack down on Big Tech monopolies that abuse their power to favor their own products.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will set clear rules to protect small businesses on dominant platforms and strengthen the ability of antitrust enforcers to hold such platforms accountable.
Senator Hawley said, “For too long, Big Tech has run roughshod over small businesses, and lax antitrust enforcers have refused to do anything. No more. Congress is finally beginning to take these issues seriously. This bill will outlaw much of the discrimination and self-preferencing that tech companies currently get away with.”
This bill is also cosponsored by Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Mark Warner (D-Va). A bipartisan group led by House Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) and Ranking Member Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced a similar version of the bill in the House, which was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee.
The American Innovation and Choice Online Act will:
- Set clear, effective rules to protect competition and users doing business on dominant online platforms, including:
- Prohibiting dominant platforms from abusing their gatekeeper power by favoring their own products or services, disadvantaging rivals, or discriminating among businesses that use their platforms in a manner that would materially harm competition on the platform; and
- Prohibiting specific forms of conduct that are harmful to small businesses, entrepreneurs, and consumers, but that do not have any pro-competitive benefit, including:
- Preventing another business’s product or service from interoperating with the dominant platform or another business;
- Requiring a business to buy a dominant platform’s goods or services for preferred placement on its platform;
- Misusing a business’s data to compete against them; and
- Biasing search results in favor of the dominant firm.
- Give antitrust enforcers strong, flexible tools to deter violations and hold dominant platforms accountable when they cross the line into illegal behavior, including significant civil penalties, authority to seek broad injunctions, emergency interim relief, and potential forfeiture of executive compensation.
- Prevent self-preferencing and discriminatory conduct by the most economically significant online platforms with large U.S. user bases which function as “critical trading partners” for online businesses. For such platforms, the rules target harmful conduct, allowing the platforms to innovate, do business, and engage in pro-consumer conduct, including protecting user privacy and safety, preventing unlawful behavior, and maintaining a secure online experience for users.