The tech giants have spent more than $36.4m (£29.5m) on TV and internet adverts to oppose a bipartisan US effort to pass one of the most recent antitrust law reforms. most significant in recent decades.
Since January 2021, the biggest players in the tech industry have been pushing against antitrust law reform that will ban these platforms from promoting their own products and services, The Wall Street Journalreported it.
In total, the business group has spent more than $36.4m (£29.5m) on its advertising efforts. Almost 40% of the sum has been spent on TV and internet advertising since May 1, according to data from ad tracking service AdImpact. In contrast, groups supporting the legislation spent around $193,000 (£156,000).
The sums involved have made it one of the biggest publicity campaigns in the tech industry in recent years, reflecting the potentially revolutionary nature of the proposed law.
The advertising campaign opposes the death of the US Online Innovation and Choice Acta bipartisan bill that will be voted on by the Senate in the summer of 2022. Versions of the law have already advanced from both Houses Judiciary Committees and the legislation has received support from US President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice, as well than the Department of Commerce.
If enacted, the legislation will mark the most significant change to antitrust law in decades, disrupting the operation of big tech companies and opening up the possibility of breaking up some of the largest conglomerates. The legislation specifically targets mainstream technology platforms, such as Amazon, Google, Apple and Facebook.
In 2020, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust released its 450-page report finding that these tech platforms had used their monopoly power to stifle competition.
Big Tech representatives have opposed these measures, on the grounds that such laws will lead to less choice for consumers and higher prices for products.
“This is undoubtedly one of the most important campaigns the association has launched in recent years, as it is one of the most radical policy proposals to regulate a leading sector of the U.S. economy,” said Matt Schruers, president of Computer and Communications. Industry Association (CCIA), which spent more than $23m (£18.6m), the most of any group.
The CCIA did not reveal which companies funded its ad campaign, saying only that “the association is funding the campaign.” However, the CCIA lists Alphabet’s Google, Amazon, Apple and Meta Platforms’ Facebook among its members, with Amazon publicly opposing the legislation and revealing that it paid $10,000 or more to the CCIA in 2021. Google also published a blog criticize the bill.
The ads have mostly aired in key states and districts of lawmakers who may be undecided on the legislation, calling the bill contributing to inflation, undermining America’s competitive advantage over China or harm consumers and small businesses.
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar and Republican Senator Chuck Grassley, two of the bill’s sponsors, held a press conference to defend the reform.
“We’re up against these big tech companies spending tens of millions of dollars on ads and also front groups to spread lies about our bill,” Grassley said. “Obviously they want to protect the status quo, which allows them to expand their influence.”
Tech companies “know that if the bills were to pass they would pass, and so the big tech lobby groups are scrambling to try to stop that from happening,” said Sacha Haworth, executive director of Tech. Oversight Project, one of the groups that ran ads supporting the legislation.
Klobuchar further confirmed that, despite the attacks, the bill had the necessary votes to pass the Senate.
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