Just the Facts

Five Facts on The Antitrust Laws and Probe

By Emma Petasis
June 5, 2019 | Blog

The House Judiciary Committee announced it will be investigating the power of big tech and will hold a series of hearings to determine whether there is enough competition among tech companies. Here are the facts.

*For our article on Big Tech, click HERE.

1. Antitrust laws regulate the distribution of economic power.

Created to ensure healthy competition and the growth of economies, antitrust laws apply to all industries and sectors, including technology and its marketing. Antitrust laws go back to 1890 when The Sherman Act was passed making it illegal for companies to create monopolies and compete unfairly.[1]

2. Congress has been hesitant to regulate tech companies.

Out of fear of inhibiting growth and innovation, Congress did not regulate tech companies in the early years of the internet. Now that these companies have grown and become established, their business practices require investigation to hold them accountable. 

3. Congress will investigate three issues. 

According to the House Judiciary Committee’s statement on Monday, the Antitrust Subcommittee will investigate competition in digital markets, anti-competitive conduct of dominant firms, and if current laws and enforcement policies are adequate.[2]By way of explanation, the probe will determine whether these companies allow for competition in the market, in addition to being adequately monitored and regulated. 

4. No companies were explicitly named as part of the investigation. 

Although no companies were named in the statement, NBC News writes that it is inevitable the investigation will touch on Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple since all have come under scrutiny for dominating the market without regulation and decreasing competition.[3]Because social media can shape our news and information, these companies will be investigated for privacy concerns as well.

5. The investigation is a bipartisan effort.

The investigation is Democrat-led, but Republicans on the Judiciary Committee have shown support for the probe. Regulation has been loosely enforced over the years, and the practices of these companies have invoked questions as well as criticism across the aisle.[4]


[1]https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/sites/default/files/games/off-site/youarehere/pages/pdf/FTC-Competition_Antitrust-Laws.pdf

[2]https://time.com/5600218/congress-bipartisan-probe-tech-industry/

[3]https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/house-judiciary-investigate-market-dominance-big-tech-companies-n1013426

[4]https://time.com/5600218/congress-bipartisan-probe-tech-industry/

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