Jul 17, 2019 - Technology

New squeeze for Facebook, Amazon

Big Tech got squeezed from both sides of the Atlantic on Wednesday.

What's happening: The EU will investigate how Amazon creates products that compete with offerings from outside merchants on its site. "Brussels is also poised to conclude a four-year probe into US chipmaker Qualcomm by fining the company for abuse of dominant position." Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have found common ground: Big Tech is too powerful and needs to be knocked down a peg.

One example: Facebook is facing a lot of scrutiny from Congress over its plans for its Libra cryptocurrency, largely because lawmakers worry the social media giant could have too much control over it, Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva emails.

  • Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio): "They moved fast and broke our political discourse. ... Now Facebook asks people to trust them with their hard-earned paychecks."
  • The other side: The company has been emphasizing that it will be governed by an independent body, of which Facebook will be a member.
  • Facebook exec David Marcus told Congress today the company "will take the time to get this right."

The big picture: As this year opened with a wave of congressional scrutiny of tech, privacy legislation seemed the most likely outcome.

  • Now, the conflict has broadened onto much wider terrain, Axios' Ina Fried wrote in this morning's Login newsletter.
  • And Europe — where France just passed a 3% digital tax on and where GDP is a part of life — has long since moved past the thinking phase to the regulating stage.

Why it matters: While it’s not out of the “all talk” stage yet, the conversation has moved from broad condemnation to more specific ways tech could be regulated, Axios’ David McCabe reports.

What's next: On Thursday, executives from Snap, Match Group, Salesforce and Mozilla will brief members of the Senate Judiciary Committee behind closed doors as part of the panel’s new tech task force that hopes to tackle issues like privacy and data security.

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