Could there be a wave of panic at American Tech? the wall street journal reports that GAFA-funded lobby groups have spent $36.4 million on advertising against the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) antitrust law since January 1, 2021.
40% of the sum has been spent since May
Computer and Communications Industry Association President Matt Schruers, which is funded by Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon, admitted leading “theone of the most important campaigns that the association has launched in recent years “. For him, this is explained by the obligation to respond to ” one of the most sweeping policy proposals to regulate a cutting-edge sector of the US economy “.
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This proposal, bipartisan, directly targets the digital giants, to the chagrin of Amazon, to prohibit them from promoting their own products on their platforms. Naturally, the e-commerce giant could suffer the most, but Google and Meta would also be penalized. Lobby groups did not specify which of the groups funded the campaign against the law.
This campaign is available in advertising spots broadcast on television and on the Internet. Jumbled up, the AICOA is accused of harming inflation, the American economy, small businesses, the United States’ position vis-à-vis China and of endangering popular services, Amazon Prime and Google Maps are quoted.
If the campaign began when the text was tabled, at the start of 2021, 40% of the expenses, or $13.7 million, have been paid since May 1. The AICOA is about to be voted on by the US Senate. The vote is scheduled for the summer.
Chuck Grassley, a Republican senator, took the floor on June 8 to denounce being “ faced with these big tech companies that spend tens of millions of dollars on ads and also front groups to spread falsehoods about our bill “. His Democratic colleague, Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Senate antitrust subcommittee, was calm, ” We got momentum despite all the money spent against us “.
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These clips are not broadcast anywhere. These are the states of the main promoters of the text where the dollars are flowing the most. States with Democratic senators in unfavorable ballots for the midterm elections, at the end of 2022, are also targeted. With some success in some cases.
Republican senators are also prime targets. Traditionally hostile to proposed antitrust laws, they participate in the AICOA. The “Grand Old Party” has a grudge against the GAFA, which it accuses of censoring conservative opinions. An alliance of convenience was therefore formed, with critics of the text on both sides.
Divisions on which the pressure groups of the Tech giants will not refrain from supporting. If they fail the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which has received backing from the Biden administration, could be the first antitrust legislation targeting digital giants passed by the Democratic president. Many others are still waiting in the Congress Committees.