Washington, D.C. — A new report from the Center for American Progress endorses two pending antitrust measures in the Senate that would restore online competition and enhance consumer choice.
Both the American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act would prohibit critical digital platforms from discriminating against their competitors, the report finds. The measures would also prevent these platforms from promoting their own products over those of competitors in ways that harm competition and ensure that consumers have access to competitive, functional app ecosystems.
“Passage of these bills would give Congress power to rein in some of the worst economic behaviors that cause the most harm online,” said Adam Conner, vice president for Technology Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “Promoting your own services over those of your online competitors undermines competition for services that Americans rely on every day. We need Congress to act this summer to curb these anti-competitive behaviors.”
The report finds that the bills would:
- Lower costs and increase choice for consumers. They can immediately remove barriers that cause significant inconveniences between popular services on covered platforms, which millions of Americans use daily to shop, socialize, and surf. That means:
- Cost savings for consumers on mobile digital services
- More options to purchase digital goods from phones
- More choices when it comes to convenience, privacy, and safety
- Honesty from developers about functionality restrictions
- Unlocking online mobile gaming for billions of gaming fans around the world
- Create new protections for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses. They would ensure that, as controllers of the major U.S. digital platforms, covered platforms don’t abuse their positions to prevent small and medium-sized businesses from competing. Companies would be barred from:
- Designing algorithms to favor their own products
- Preventing smaller businesses from communicating with customers
- Imposing “pay to play” restrictions for businesses on major platforms
The bills would create greater incentive for companies to improve privacy and security, while carefully protecting their ability to make those improvements. And in contrast to misleading claims to the contrary, the bills would not compromise national security. Rather, they would restore competitive pressure that supports American dynamism and global technology leadership.
The report also finds that the bills would preserve platforms’ abilities to moderate content as they see fit. The bills create a very high bar for disgruntled complainants abusing competitive provisions to advance content moderation grievances.
“In light of the misleading claims being advanced about these bills, we wanted to sit down and really look at these arguments on their merits,” said Erin Simpson, director of Technology Policy at CAP and co-author of the report. “In assessing the concerns raised and answering the outstanding questions, it is clear to us that the likely impact of the bills is overwhelmingly positive: They seek to lower costs and increase choice, all while providing new protections for American businesses selling online. It’s time for the Senate to move these strong proposals to the floor.”
Read the report: “Evaluating 2 Tech Antitrust Bills To Restore Competition Online” by Adam Conner and Erin Simpson
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