American Innovation and Choice Bill in US Senate would rein in Big Tech

February 10, 2022

Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google dominate the big tech space and continue to break records with their massive profits, power and influence. A new bipartisan effort is taking shape to set new limits on the tech titans.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act was introduced by Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Chuck Grassley of Iowa. The bipartisan bill aims to “provide that certain discriminatory conduct by covered platforms shall be unlawful.” What does this mean? The bill targets the four largest online media companies – Amazon, Apple, Google, and Facebook, and would prevent these companies from targeting individuals or groups in a discriminatory manner.

The Act would define a dominant platform based on number of users and market capitalization, prohibit large platforms from giving their own products and services advantages over those of their competitors, and would rein in the use of private data collected on their services to create marketplace advantages for themselves. In addition, it may provide opportunities for small competitors of tech platforms to gain traction in the competitive online marketplace.

The major tech companies are lobbying heavily against the bill, arguing the bill has been rushed and would make it more difficult for consumers to use their online search services. However, the bill does have many advocates, including the American Economic Liberties Project, citing the ability of the bill to restore transparency and competition to the tech market at a time when both are becoming scarce.

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with a bipartisan majority on January 20, 2022. The bill will head to the Senate floor for a series of votes.