Facebook’s biggest rival, Google inside the White House

The appointment of Professor Tim Wu to the US National Economic Council shows the country's tough approach to major technology firms.

Tim Wu is appointed by Mr. Biden as a special assistant to the president for competition and technology policy. According to the New York Times, Wu is one of the outspoken critics of the power of the Big Tech group.

Mr. Wu’s appointment to the White House demonstrates the presidential administration’s tough approach to adjusting the size and influence of tech firms such as Facebook, Google, Apple and Amazon. When running for president, Mr. Biden said he was ready to consider splitting technology firms.

Mr. Biden’s approach to technology firms is similar to that of former President Donald Trump’s administration. By the end of 2020, state regulators simultaneously sued Facebook and Google for antitrust violations. Apple and Amazon are also under investigation for unfair competition allegations.

The US President also expressed concern over Article 230, a shield that helps social networks to relinquish responsibility for user statements. In January 2020, Mr. Biden stated that Article 230 “should be immediately abolished”.

Technology firms have repeatedly denied, intensifying lobbying to push back against antitrust accusations. Meanwhile, Wu warned of the consequences of tech firms wielding too much power, comparing the US economy to the late 1800s Gilded Age.

“The most visible thing in our daily lives is the enormous power of technology platforms, especially Google, Facebook and Amazon,” said the 48-year-old professor.

In addition to the competition policy among firms, Mr. Wu will also focus on competition in labor policy, such as the noncompete clauses of firms, centralization of power in agriculture, and pharmaceutical industry.

The list of characters appointed to the antitrust division of the Justice Department and the US Federal Trade Commission has not been announced by Mr. Biden. Politicians favor hard-liners like Tim Wu, instead of characters who used to work for tech and law firms to represent them.

“Wu is a longtime antitrust advocate, always pushing officials to split up and restrain the Big Tech group. I am delighted that he takes this role, ”said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat from Massachusetts.

Tim Wu was a special advisor to the US Federal Trade Commission for the period 2011-2012, joining the National Economic Council on competition policy under the former President Obama administration. At that time, Wu’s approach to Facebook, Google or Amazon was rather light-hearted. That made him regret it.

Unrestrained, technology firms have freely merged and acquired smaller companies under the Obama era. Since then, Wu said Democrats have turned the pivot, noticing the Big Tech team is not keeping its promise to protect user data, competing fairly with small competitors and removing misinformation from the platform. .

Wu is famous for his campaign against major telecom companies, coining the term “net neutrality”, which states that everyone has equal access to all content on the Internet. . Recently, Wu turned to Facebook, Google and Amazon, the companies that dominate the opinion, search and retail platforms on the Internet.

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