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Vergecast episodes that explain antitrust and breaking up Big Tech

March 8, 2019
In The News

The idea of antitrust in the tech industry has been tossed around a lot lately. Most recently, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) published a proposal to break up big tech companies, notably Amazon, Facebook, and Google.

We cover antitrust policy often on The Vergecast, talking to lawmakers, policy experts, and academics about next steps that governments can take to regulate these big technology companies from becoming too powerful.

Here are some episodes of our show that help explain whether this should happen with these companies, how it could be done, and what lawmakers are doing about it.

Best known for coining the phrase “net neutrality” and his book The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, Tim Wu has a new book called The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age. In it, he argues for a return to aggressive antitrust enforcement in the style of Teddy Roosevelt, saying that Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other huge tech companies are a threat to democracy as they get bigger and bigger. Vergeeditor-in-chief Nilay Patel sits down with Wu to discuss why it’s time to break up these companies.

Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) joined Nilay and Verge policy reporter Makena Kelly on the show to discuss Congress’ plans to regulate Big Tech in the new year. After Democrats were able to take back a majority in the House of Representatives after the 2018 midterm elections and Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal came to light, lawmakers are now gearing up to rein in these Silicon Valley giants.

Khanna, who represents the California district that houses the Apple and Google campuses, was tasked with developing a set of principles that he now calls the “Internet Bill of Rights,” that companies should abide by when it comes to issues like privacy, net neutrality, and anti-competitive behavior. Now that the Democrats recaptured the House, tech leaders like Khanna have a chance to codify ideas like these into laws.