BIG TECH AND THE CONSUMERS
The approach that many Members of Congress have encouraged is regulation by anti-trust lawsuits. For example, Google is facing a lawsuit from the Department of Justice over having a “monopoly” on search platforms. However, the anti-trust lawsuits against tech companies like Google only target functions like Google Search and do almost nothing to address key issues like privacy.
I believe that we should focus on how these issues impact the consumer. We live in an age where we can call anyone from anywhere around the world for free using services like Google Voice; only ten years ago, that kind of service would have been accessible to a very slim percentage of the population. If these lawsuits prevail, then it is quite possible that the free services from major companies like Google and Facebook we enjoy would disappear in favor of subscription-based services. We should let the consumers decide what services they wish to use rather than forfeiting their access to free services they depend on.
That is why I believe that people who should keep these companies in check are the people who use these services. The government should only step in and regulate companies if they are harming the consumer, but in the case at hand--is Google harming the consumer by making their free services (like Search) available? Moreover, it is crucial that we consider unforeseen consequences of government intervention, such as lost economic productivity or the deplatforming of millions of Americans. Such outcomes are unacceptable if we wish to continue embracing the Information Age in a fair and democratic manner.
Tech is constantly evolving, and the leaders in the field of yesteryear (like IBM and Blackberry) are not necessarily still at the forefront of innovation. That is the nature of this industry. In a market that’s constantly evolving, we should encourage competition through innovation, not separation. For instance, TikTok was an unknown platform three years ago, but today it is a dominant player in the social media space along with Twitter and Facebook. After all, antitrust law is not meant to benefit political and corporate interests, but rather the consumers and citizens of America.