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FTC and Congress Should Have Scrutinized, Stopped Harmful Tech Mergers

Statement of Alex Harman, Competition Policy Advocate, Public Citizen

Note: Today the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights is holding a hearing examining the potential anticompetitive behavior of predatory companies in Silicon Valley that swallowed up smaller competitors. 

For more than a decade, potentially harmful mergers in Silicon Valley have been ignored by federal regulators. Tech titans such as Google and Facebook have made a practice of buying up potential competitors to lock in their market dominance.

Google bought Doubleclick and YouTube – monopolizing the digital ad market, threatening consumer privacy and gaining incredible power over what content we see. Facebook bought Instagram and WhatsApp, creating a monopoly over social media and chat programs that resulted in less consumer choice and a significant loss of privacy protections.

This hearing should have been held before these mergers and acquisitions were approved by the Federal Trade Commission. For too long, the agency has refused to take any action to protect consumers from the tech industry’s monopolistic greed. Chairman Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) should be applauded for holding this hearing, as it will bring us one step closer to unwinding these harmful tech mergers.