Big Tech’s “Platform Privilege” Violates the Sherman Act, Says Former AG

By on January 29, 2019

January 29, 2019

There is a law on the books that could address many if not all of the problems of the digital era, according to Sally Hubbard, a former assistant attorney general in New York. It’s called the Sherman Act, it was passed in 1890 and Hubbard believes Big Tech is in clear violation. She writes that in recent decades, corporate defendants have persuaded judges to narrow the law by requiring evidence of price increases to prove a case. But the Sherman Act doesn’t mention prices. It references the ways in which competition maximizes consumer choice, innovation and quality. As a side-benefit, it also combats concentration of economic and political power. Hubbard notes that Google, Amazon and Facebook have “platform privilege,” meaning they possess both the incentive and the ability to prioritize their own goods and services over those of competitors that depend on their platforms. Users don’t necessarily pay more money for the use of those platforms, but they pay with loss of privacy by ceding the use of their data to Big Tech. An entrepreneur who created a superior product or service wouldn’t stand a chance.
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