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Friday 22 March 2019

Candidate Warren vows to break up Amazon, Google and Facebook

Senator Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Elise Amendola/AP
Senator Elizabeth Warren. Photo: Elise Amendola/AP

Daniel Trotta

US Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren this weekend rolled out a proposal to break up the biggest technology companies, saying they have too much control over the economy and Americans' lives.

In her pitch to rein in the influence of tech giants, the Massachusetts senator envisions legislation targeting companies with annual worldwide revenue of $25bn or more, limiting their ability to expand and forcing parts of Google and Amazon's current business structure to operate as separate entities.

"They've bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else," she wrote in a blogpost, adding: "We must help America's content creators - from local newspapers and national magazines to comedians and musicians - keep more of the value their content generates, rather than seeing it scooped up by companies like Google and Facebook."

As president, Warren said she would pick regulators who would break up "anti-competitive mergers" such as Facebook's recent purchase of Instagram and Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods.

She made the pitch ahead of a rousing town hall appearance in the New York neighbourhood where Amazon recently scrapped plans to open a new headquarters.

It's Warren's latest effort to shape the policy agenda for the Democratic presidential primary, coming after earlier announcements of a "wealth tax" plan on households with high net worth and a universal child care proposal. Now her tech agenda, coming at a time of rising public concern about the growing power of the dominant players, could force the rest of her rivals for the 2020 nomination to follow her lead.


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