Biden seeks harder line in new order at Big Tech, says FTC needs to brake


President Biden will ask the Federal Trade Commission on Friday to take a tougher stance against Big Tech companies, examining how dominant internet players thwart competition from other platforms through “lethal buyouts” and drafting rules that restrict how sensitive information they can collect.

The moves are part of an expanding scheme designed to encourage competition in the economy by limiting or banning “non-compete” clauses, encouraging drug imports and other moves from Canada.

The White House announces the order, comparing it to Teddy Roosevelt’s efforts to undermine trust in the early 1900s, and to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “reinforced” antitrust practice decades later.

The moves against Big Tech reflect modern concerns and appear to target companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon.

The acquisition rules come amid a swirling debate about Facebook’s influence after the mega-acquisition of Instagram and WhatsApp years ago. Social media companies have also come under fire from the political right, mainly due to concerns about censorship or rules removing people from platforms.

Mr Biden’s order appears to target Amazon by ordering the FTC to scrutinize major retail platforms that can track how small businesses’ products are being sold, and then use that data to launch competing versions.

“Because they operate the platform, they can showcase their own counterfeit products more prominently than products from small businesses,” the White House said in a memo.

The order also mandates cell phone manufacturers and instructs the FTC to write rules that allow users to make their own repairs or have third-party stores repair their phones so companies can’t corner the market with expensive and time-consuming repairs, parts, and diagnostics. .

Mr Biden will sign the order and make statements in the White House State Dining Room on Friday.

Among the notable provisions, the order encourages the FTC to ban or limit non-compete clauses that prevent employees from seeking a better job at a competing company. Mr Biden says the substances affect 36 to 60 million workers and prevent workers from seeking better wages or conditions elsewhere, but companies say these substances are an important tool in protecting private information from competitors.

Mr. Biden will also ask the FTC to ban unnecessary professional licensing requirements. The White House says almost 30% of jobs in the United States require licenses, less than 5% in the 1950s, and it is very difficult to transfer licenses from state to state.

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