US senator and 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren (pictured) unveiled a plan to split technology giants including Amazon, Google and Facebook as part of a bid to spur innovation and competition.
The proposal calls for the passage of new laws which would classify online marketplaces and platforms as so-called platform utilities. All such companies would be barred from sharing user data with third parties and held to new standards of fair dealing with users.
Additionally, companies with revenue of more than $25 billion would be prohibited from participating in their own marketplace.
In effect, the latter provision would require Amazon (as owner of Amazon Marketplace) to spin off its Basics brand of retail products. Similarly, Google would be forced to separate its advertising exchange from other owned businesses which advertise on the platform.
If elected president, Warren said she would also appoint officials to unwind a number of transactions deemed anti-competitive, including Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, and Google’s deals with Waze and Nest.
Warren said the goal is to make room for up and coming tech companies to thrive: “To do that, we need to stop this generation of big tech companies from throwing around their political power to shape the rules in their favour and throwing around their economic power to snuff-out or buy-up every potential competitor.”
Google, Amazon and Facebook did not immediately respond to requests for comment.