Date
22 September 2019
The FTC will closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition, the agency's chairman Joe Simons vowed. Photo: Bloomberg
The FTC will closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition, the agency's chairman Joe Simons vowed. Photo: Bloomberg

US FTC announces task force to monitor big tech

The US Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday that it will create a task force to monitor the tech industry and investigate anticompetitive conduct.

The FTC’s Bureau of Competition will put some 17 staff attorneys on the task force, which will consult on tech-related merger reviews, investigations and reviews of consummated tech deals, Reuters reports.

“It makes sense for us to closely examine technology markets to ensure consumers benefit from free and fair competition,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons was quoted as saying in a statement.

Bruce Hoffman, head of the Bureau of Competition, did not rule out taking action to undo a consummated deal if anticompetitive behavior was found, the report said.

The regulator’s move comes as it faces growing pressure to keep closer tabs on big tech companies such as Google and Facebook. 

Advocacy groups, such as the Electronic Privacy Information Center, have urged the FTC to require Facebook to unwind its purchases of Instagram, used to share photos, and WhatsApp, a private messaging app.

The App Association, which represents app makers, said it looks forward to the task force’s work.

“A robust, competitive environment allows small businesses to fully participate in this economy, with new opportunities emerging at a rapid pace,” association president Morgan Reed said in a statement.

The Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represents brick and mortar stores whose businesses have been disrupted by online retailers, said creation of the task force will “bring needed scrutiny to the relatively few technology platforms that control a growing share of modern commerce.”

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