Biden to sign executive order aimed at cracking down on Big Tech business practices

United States President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan in the East Room of the White House in Washington DC on July 8, 2021.

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The White House will announce a new executive order on Friday aimed at cracking down on competitive practices at Big Tech, CNBC’s Ylan Mui reported.

President Joe Biden’s administration will argue that the largest tech companies are using their power to oust smaller competitors and exploit consumers’ personal information, Mui said on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange.

The ordinance will ask regulators to adopt reforms such as increased scrutiny of technology mergers and a greater focus on measures like “killer acquisitions,” where companies buy smaller brands to take them off the market, Mui said.

The tightened grip on technology giants has led to a decline in innovation, said Brian Deese, chief economic advisor at the White House, in an exclusive interview with Mui.

These platforms have “caused significant problems,” Deese said. These include “privacy and security issues for users” and “small business entry issues,” he said.

The order will be announced just weeks after the House Justice Committee voted for six antitrust laws to reinvigorate competition in the technology sector.

The draft laws that would make it more difficult for dominant companies to complete mergers and forbid certain common business models for such companies have been significantly pushed back by those concerned that they will not go far enough or have unintended side effects.

In late June, a judge dismissed complaints from the Federal Trade Commission and a group of attorneys-general alleging that Facebook illegally maintained monopoly power.

Biden’s executive order also calls on the FTC to enact new rules for Big Tech’s data collection and user monitoring practices, and calls on the agency to ban certain unfair competition practices in internet marketplaces, Mui reported.

The arrangement could provide some relief to small and medium-sized businesses that have complained about the supposed crippling influence of tech companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google on digital markets.

Biden’s executive order does not unilaterally impose its will on big tech companies, but instead calls on the independent FTC to take action.

But new FTC chairman Lina Khan, a Biden appointee who, at 32 years old, was the youngest person to ever hold the role when she was sworn in last month, already has a reputation as a vocal advocate of regulatory reform and tightening developed for technology giants.

Amazon is demanding that Khan be excluded from ongoing investigations into his business, arguing that it lacks impartiality and that it has repeatedly said the company is “guilty of antitrust violations and should be liquidated.”

This story evolves. Check back for updates.

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