Google, Facebook Pressure Falls Short as Major Antitrust Measures Advance in House Committee

Debate over the House Judiciary Committee’s package of legislation lasted much of the day and continued into the night.


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WASHINGTON—A House committee approved ambitious legislation to curb the market dominance of tech giants, including Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc., but much of the effort faced intensive lobbying by affected firms that slowed the committee’s work and foreshadowed a pitched battle in the Senate.

In a package of six bills, the most significant measure to pass by late Wednesday requires that the largest internet platforms make it easier for users to transport their data to other platforms and even communicate with users on other platforms. The bill—known as the Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching, or Access, Act—would give the Federal Trade Commission extensive new powers to set individualized standards for the tech giants. It passed, 25-19.

But the debate over the House Judiciary Committee’s package of legislation lasted much of the day and continued into the night, as Republicans—and some Democrats—raised concerns and floated amendments.

The centerpiece of the package, a measure to bar big tech companies from favoring their own products in a range of circumstances on their platforms, had yet to be considered as of late Wednesday night. That bill, known as the American Choice and Innovation Online Act, would prohibit big platforms from engaging in conduct that advantages their own products or services, or disadvantages other business users, or discriminates among similarly situated business users.

Two other less-controversial bills also were adopted, one raising federal fees on corporate merger reviews and another aiding state attorneys general in procedural battles in antitrust court cases.

(More to come.)

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