Congress Faces Renewed Strain to ‘Modernize Our Antitrust Legal guidelines’

The FTC “is carefully reviewing the opinion and evaluating the best option for the future,” said Lindsay Kryzak, a spokeswoman for the agency.

The rulings were another example of Facebook’s ability to evade the harshest consequences for its business. Although the FTC fined Facebook $ 5 billion for data breaches in 2019, there have been few material changes to how the company’s products work. And Facebook continues to grow: More than 3.45 billion people use one or more of its apps every month – including WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The rulings were particularly deflationary after measures to curb tech power in Washington gained momentum. Ms. Khan’s appointment to the FTC this month followed the appointment of Tim Wu, another lawyer who is critical of the industry, to the National Economic Council. Bruce Reed, the President’s deputy chief of staff, has called for a new privacy policy.

Mr Biden has yet to name anyone to permanently head the Justice Department’s antitrust division, which filed a lawsuit last year arguing that Google illegally protected its monopoly on online search.

The White House is also expected to pass an executive order aimed at consolidating companies in the tech and other areas of the economy. The order is still being worked out and officials said Mr Biden has not yet reviewed it. White House officials have declined to discuss it in detail until it is likely to sign it next week.

Officials said the president’s powers to deal with antitrust issues are limited without intervention from Congress. An official who requested anonymity said Mr Biden was “concerned about anti-competitive behavior in a number of industries, including the technology sector” and that he was encouraged by the bipartisan work in Congress, following court rulings to dismiss the Facebook lawsuits, to address the problems.

Activists and lawmakers said this week that Congress shouldn’t wait to give regulators more tools, money, and legal red lines to use against the tech giants. Mr. Cicilline, along with New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that the judge’s decisions on Facebook “demonstrate the urgent need to modernize our antitrust laws to address anti-competitive mergers and abusive behavior in the world digital economy. “

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