On Friday morning, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) promised that, if elected president in 2020, she would separate tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Google. Just hours later, he arrived in Long Island City in New York City to present his proposal to a community that recently felt threatened by one of those companies.
“Hello, Long Island City,” Warren yelled to the crowd. “I understand you have had a visitor.”
“Amazon came. Amazon left,” he continued. “That’s the problem in America today. We have these giant tech companies who think they rule the earth. “
More than 1,000 people weathered the cold to hear Warren’s proposal. It came out on Amazon, and the crowd cheered and cheered when he called out the company for acting anti-competitive.
“They think they can collect all of our personal data and sell it to whoever they want”
“She is one of the only policies that has issued a policy that matches the scale of this consolidation of corporate power in the tech space,” one person in the crowd told me.
In her proposal, Warren says that, if elected, she would name regulators who will work to spin off previous acquisitions of companies like Facebook and Google back into their own companies. In the case of Facebook, that would mean forcing the company to sell Instagram and WhatsApp. Additionally, he proposed legislation that would prohibit platforms from generating more than $ 25 billion in annual revenue from acting as “participants” on his platform.
For many, the legislation appeared to be a direct hit on Amazon. If Warren’s proposal is approved, Amazon would not be allowed to sell its own products on its website, only third-party products.
Long Island City (LIC), located in the New York City borough of Queens, was a symbolic choice of location for Warren’s campaign event on Friday night. Last year, Amazon courted dozens of cities across the country for the location of its second headquarters in search of the best set of incentives from local officials. In November, Amazon announced that it would split its new headquarters in two, split between LIC and Northern Virginia. Virginia welcomed the company with little criticism, but shortly after the announcement, local New York City politicians and advocates rallied against the decision. A few months later, Amazon pulled out.
Warren was introduced by two members of the New York legislature who lobbied the toughest against Amazon, sensers Mike Gianaris and Jimmy Van Bramer. Both were at the forefront of advocacy efforts to renegotiate the deal or oust Amazon entirely, and they supported Warren as he criticized the company’s behavior.
“[Big tech companies] They think they can come to cities and states and intimidate everyone into doing whatever they want, “Warren said.” They think they can collect all of our personal data and sell it to whoever they want and for whatever purpose. They think they can run their business and just take over all the small businesses, all the entrepreneurs and all the start-ups that may threaten their position. And what is our government doing in Washington? Nothing. ”
Over the past year, discussions about the status of US antitrust law have taken on new relevance. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are now beginning to rethink how regulators can combat anti-competitive behavior, especially when it comes to tech companies. Criticism of the companies has become commonplace in Congress, but no politician has been as explicit about the importance of breaking apart the giant tech corporations as Warren.
“I want a government that is not here to work for giant tech companies,” Warren said. “I want a government that is here to work for the people.”