Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products

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Sens. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharLobbying world Jill Biden to campaign with McAuliffe on Friday Facebook can ‘broadly’ accept regulators having access to algorithms, says executive MORE (D-Minn.) and Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyTrump calls into Take Back Virginia Rally to hype Youngkin The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by The Conference of Presidents of Major Italian American Organizations – Dems debate scaled-back Biden agenda What’s at stake if Trump wins in 2024? Single-party authoritarian rule MORE (R-Iowa) will be introducing legislation to block the country’s biggest tech companies from prioritizing their own products over their rivals.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act would prohibit dominant online platforms — likely Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google — from engaging in discriminatory behavior like self-preferencing their own goods or disadvantaging rivals.

It would impose fines up to 15 percent of a company’s revenue during the time it was violating the legislation to provide antitrust enforcers much needed funding.

“As dominant digital platforms — some of the biggest companies our world has ever seen — increasingly give preference to their own products and services, we must put policies in place to ensure small businesses and entrepreneurs still have the opportunity to succeed in the digital marketplace,” Klobuchar, chair of the Senate Judiciary subcommittee focused on antitrust, said in a statement.

“Big Tech needs to be held accountable if they behave in a discriminatory manner,” added Grassley, the ranking member of the full committee.

The companies targeted by the forthcoming legislation have been criticized by small businesses and rivals for abusing their gatekeeper status to maintain monopoly power.

Amazon, for example, faces allegations that it uses data from third-party sellers to develop its own products and then gives them preferential treatment in search. Google has been accused of prioritizing its own features, like Google Maps or Flights, on its search engine.

The bill counts Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDemocrats struggle to gain steam on Biden spending plan Press: Where’s Merrick Garland when we need him? Democrats set up chaotic end-of-year stretch  MORE (D-Ill.), Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTim Scott takes in .3 million in third quarter Graham says Brazilian immigrants arriving at border ‘wearing designer clothes and Gucci bags’ McConnell gets GOP wake-up call MORE (R-S.C.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), John KennedyJohn Neely KennedyMORE (R-La.), Cory BookerCory BookerFirst senator formally endorses Bass in LA mayoral bid The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Sanders declined to sign statement condemning protests against Sinema: report MORE (D-N.J.), and Cynthia LummisCynthia Marie LummisGOP ramps up attacks on IRS proposal for spending package The bipartisan reason Congress should regulate big tech GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization MORE (R-Wy.) among its cosponsors.

The legislation, the text of which has not yet been released, shares a name with a bill led by Rep. David CicillineDavid CicillineDemocrats seek to cool simmering tensions Hillicon Valley —Apple is not a monopoly, judge rules Judge rules Apple is not ‘illegal monopolist’ in high-profile Epic case MORE (D-R.I.) that was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee earlier this summer. The companion Senate bill will have some differences but will mainly be the same, a spokesperson for Klobuchar told The Hill.

The House version of the bill, as well five more pieces of bipartisan legislation aimed at revamping antitrust enforcement, has yet to receive a floor vote amid opposition from influential California Democrats and lukewarm reception from party leadership.

Successfully pushing this bill through the Senate could reignite efforts to get antitrust reform signed into law.

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