Biden urged by 33 advocacy groups to reject ‘Big Tech’ influence
To President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr.:
Congratulations on your historic election victory. The below undersigned organizations are a broad coalition that represent millions of Americans concerned about the concentrated power of Big Tech companies. We look forward to working with your administration to address the harms posed by Big Tech.
As you prepare for the presidential transition, we write to urge you to reject the influence of these corporations by committing to exclude Big Tech executives, lobbyists, lawyers and consultants from your administration. Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft once promised innovation and opportunity, and while they continue to provide many remarkable products, they now represent serious threats to privacy, democracy, innovation, and Americans’ economic well-being. Each of these companies have developed predatory business practices that harvest user data for profit. Over the last few years, we have seen how Facebook and Google irresponsibly wield immense influence over democratic elections, without oversight or accountability. Despite the myth that Silicon Valley is rife with entrepreneurs and small businesses capable of disrupting entire industries, these companies have killed, rather than fostered innovation. And during the worst health crisis in recent history, Amazon has taken advantage of Americans struggling with the pandemic, tripling their profits on price gouged essential goods.
We believe that your administration must confront the threats posed by the monopolistic Big Tech companies that have exploited consumer privacy, threatened our democracy, stifled innovation, and profited from the pandemic. The time to hold these companies accountable and rein in their power is now. However, we can only bring these companies to account if you do not rely on affiliates of these very companies to make up your government.
Big Tech companies already have significant power and influence in Washington. The companies have massively increased lobbying and campaign spending in recent years, and Facebook and Amazon each spend more on lobbying than any other company in the country.
But the tide is turning.
In recent years, both the public and policy makers alike have begun to see them for what they are: the largest and most valuable companies in the world that have prioritized the pursuit of profit at the expense of American health, welfare, and democracy. In fact, recent polling conducted by Pew Research Center showed that nearly half of Americans want to see Big Tech regulated. In addition, the House Antitrust Subcommittee just completed a historic investigation into the monopoly abuses of Big Tech, and found bipartisan support for legislative and regulatory recommendations to rein in their power. Further, the US Department of Justice recently joined with a group of state Attorneys General to file a historic antitrust suit against Google, and a bipartisan group of states are planning to file an addition suit against Google soon. In addition, and the Federal Trade Commission and numerous states are investigating Facebook, Amazon, and Apple. These companies are the subject of bipartisan investigation and skepticism and should not be a source for personnel in your administration.
We look forward to meeting with your team. They will need to tackle unprecedented challenges of combatting COVID-19, providing economic recovery, promoting racial justice, and tackling the climate crisis. Solving these challenges will require a team of advocates for working people––not the Big Tech companies that work to exploit them.
With your historic election, and the groundbreaking mandate that Americans have thus entrusted you with, you are facing the challenge of not only rebuilding the country, but also rebuilding trust in government. We believe that eliminating the decades-old revolving door between Silicon Valley and your administration will only help your cause. We look forward to working with your administration to hold Big Tech companies accountable in the months and years ahead.