Making markets work for more than big tech

June 21, 2022 2:25 p.m. ET


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justin tallis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Your editorial “Breaking Big Tech Bad” (June 6) criticizes our pending legislation, the US Innovation and Online Choice Act, suggesting that we “stand as advocates for small businesses”. If that’s how we look like, it’s because that’s where we aim. Our legislation restores competition to a broken market in which small and medium-sized businesses are at the mercy of Big Tech platforms to reach customers.

There is ample evidence of how Big Tech engaged in anti-competitive behavior that harmed businesses and consumers. If current law were sufficient to deal with monopolistic behavior, there would have been simple judgments from the courts and sanctions from regulators to limit the behavior.

Invoking the history of once-dominant companies like General Motors,

Xerox and IBM dismissing concerns about today’s giants is tempting but tenuous. Big Tech’s goalkeeper position is fundamentally different from that of earlier market heavyweights. Today’s dominant online platforms can abuse their power to stifle competition from small businesses in ways these businesses could not before.

Our law states unambiguously that dominant platforms cannot privilege or discriminate in a way that would materially harm competition. It’s also clear that companies can avoid liability if they can show that their actions are necessary for cybersecurity, user privacy, data security, core user experience, or compliance with the law.

When businesses have to compete for customers and consumers have the freedom to choose from a variety of products or services, everyone has a chance to succeed. This classically liberal and traditionally American economic configuration also pushes companies to innovate in order to stand out.

As the editorial notes, a potential economic recession is looming and we are all paying the price for inflation. Small businesses and consumers suffer the most in these circumstances, so it’s imperative that we make sure the market works for all participants, not just the gatekeepers of Big Tech.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa)

Rep. Ken Buck (R., Col.)

Washington

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