New questions about the power of big tech and whether regul…


FILE – In this June 16, 2014, file photo, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos walks onstage for the launch of the new Amazon Fire Phone, in Seattle. On Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018, Amazon became the second publicly traded company to be worth $1 trillion, hot on the heels of Apple. The company’s blowout success made its founder and CEO, Bezos, No. 1 on Forbes’ billionaires list this year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON – In a world, where you can now order your books, your bed, and your bacon from the same website, there are new calls for a crackdown– for big-tech to slow down.

The Federal Trade Commission just kicked off a series of hearings, the first of its kind in more than 20 years, looking into whether changes in rules and regulations of companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon should be considered.

This follows the release of videos, like the one leaked to Breitbart, apparently showing those who run Google lamenting about the election results.

A Wall Street Journal report revealed, that shortly after President Trump implemented his travel ban, internal emails from within the parent company of Google, shows employees discussing ways they might be able to “tweak the company’s search-related functions and lead users to contribute to pro-immigration organizations.”

Google responded to The Wall Street Journal report with this:

These emails were just a brainstorm of ideas, none of which were ever implemented. Google has never manipulated its search results or modified any of its products to promote a particular political ideology.

But critics say, this conversation highlights the potential overreach of big-tech.

Matt Stoller, a fellow with the group Open Markets, has been very critical of big-tech and Amazon in particular. Stoller advocates for more competition and says the company has a conflict of interest, as a seller and manufacturer and a third-party marketplace.

“We’re talking about companies that are the most extreme roll-ups of concentration maybe that we’ve ever seen,” said Stoller. “It (Amazon) controls both the platform and competes on top of the platform and can tweak the rules to actually privilege its own position.”

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos has a $600 million contract to build a private cloud for the C.I.A and also owns the Washington Post.

Ultimately, it could be up to Congress and the White House to decide what, if any, action should be taken to regulate these companies.

The big-tech companies maintain they are private companies, and at least here in the US, should be free of government interference.

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