The American Innovation and Choice Online Act & Open App Market Act

The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and Open App Market Act (OAMA) together would loosen Big Tech’s grip on our digital lives, expand consumer choices, and ensure online innovation can thrive. Lawmakers should not miss one of the few remaining opportunities to pass popular, effective, needed legislation.

THE PROBLEM

Consumers are locked into a handful of digital platforms, subject to arbitrary fees, unfair contract terms, and have limited or no realistic choices for essential digital tools like search, email, or maps. All the choices involve being subjected to surveillance advertising.

Small businesses
have no way to reach a wide array of customers online without paying a sizable chunk to a gatekeepers like Amazon or Apple.

Mid-sized tech companies
face roadblocks to expanding, marketing new products, and gaining new customers because of anticompetitive practices by Big Tech companies.

Big Tech companies
– including Apple, Google, Meta, and Amazon – are reaping financial rewards that should be going to small and mid-sized businesses. In addition, the tech giants have no incentive to make fundamental changes to improve user security, privacy, or content moderation. They’ve spent at least $36 million fighting attempts to ban their self-preferencing and anticompetitive practices, because these tactics are part of the foundation of their business models and unearned market dominance.

THE SOLUTIONS

1) The American Innovation and Choice Online Act (H.R. 3816 / S. 2992) would introduce a set of rules prohibiting online platforms from unfairly preferencing their own products in a way that materially harms competition. Covered platforms include Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta, Microsoft, and TikTok. Specifically, the bill would prohibit Big Tech companies from:

  • Automatically placing their own products and services first in search results;
  • Harvesting non-public user payment data from small retailers for product research and development;
  • Removing would-be competitors from platforms based on vague terms of service violations;
  • Unfairly limiting interoperability with rival platforms; and
  • Making it impossible to switch out of preinstalled defaults on a platform or device.

These rules would be enforced through litigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Trade Commission, and state attorneys general.

2) The Open App Market Act (H.R. 7030 / S. 2710) would prohibit certain types of self-preferencing in app stores. Apple and Google exploit their position as both owners and participants in their app stores to kneecap competitors by using unfair self-preferencing tactics.

Both bills are expected to pass with broad bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. They passed by huge margins in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and have been promised Senate floor votes. But time is running out, as the Senate must act before the August recess and the fall campaign season begins.

 ENDORSEMENTS FOR THE BILLS

POLLING SHOWS OVERWHELMING PUBLIC SUPPORT

What’s the best way to galvanize voters in November? Do something they care about. Accountability for Big Tech is overwhelmingly popular – especially in swing states and with younger voters.

For more information contact: Matt Kent, competition policy advocate, mkent@citizen.org