Prof. Victor Menaldo on Venture Beat, "Breaking up Big Tech–A solution in search of a problem"

Prof. Victor Menaldo writes about the possible politicization of our antitrust laws:

Breaking up Big Tech is a radical solution in search of a problem. Something simple like a consent decree, which could target limited solutions based on empirically verified problems, might make more sense. While these have not always totally worked in the past when applied to Big Tech, they are not toothless either: The FTC recently brought down the hammer on Facebook, imposing a record $5 billion fine after it fell short during the Cambridge Analytica scandal of upholding the terms of a 2012 consent decree governing user data. Its 2019 order also “requires Facebook to restructure its approach to privacy from the corporate board-level down, and establishes strong new mechanisms to ensure that Facebook executives are accountable for the decisions they make about privacy and that those decisions are subject to meaningful oversight.” So far, there is no reason to believe this remedy has not worked.

The larger conversation, of course, is about what basis we use to conduct public policy, including antitrust. Antitrust policies are in danger of being politicized. And the collateral damage may be the big tech firms that brought us vastly improved search, educational possibilities, and entertainment, global social networks, and same-day delivery of groceries. Whether that is a good or bad idea maybe something we should have a debate about.

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