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Market Concentration and Political Influence: Understand why the United States wants to reduce the dominance of ‘big technologies’

RIO – The U.S. Congress on Thursday took another step towards the siege of global technology companies. The US House of Representatives has approved a report accusing large technologists of buying or dismantling small companies.

The 400-page report, which was approved by seven votes to 24 with the support of Republicans and Democrats, is a step from the first congressional poll. Great technologies, Released in October. Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook are the targets.

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The text has already proposed significant changes in the law of no confidence to control the dominance of some of these companies in their divisions. It also prevented competition for how they abused their market power.

Mark Zuckerberg defending WhatsApp and Instagram acquisitions at US Congress Photo: Erin Scott / REUTERS

Analysts interviewed by GLOBO report that US authorities are increasingly willing to impose limits on monopoly Great technologies. The reasons are not limited to the economy.

The political influence that social networks have on society is embarrassing. In general, experts agree that legislation in the United States could have an impact on other parts of the world.

The level of control is still uncertain

According to UFRJ Institute of Economics Professor Louis Carlos Prado, the report’s endorsement is the result of a moment Great technologies They have already been subjected to public scrutiny. Therefore, the discussion should move the activities of these organizations to some sort of regulation, but also look at the nature and purpose of this regulation.

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According to the economist, there is still a long way to go because the report does not determine what will be done, but serves as a basis for future recommendations.

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Photo: John Gogil / Bloomberg News

Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin Photo: John Gogil / Bloomberg News

– This is not a decision yet because there is a lot of debate to be made, and these companies have influence in the US Congress. This regulation was done by US authorities, but these companies operate internationally. Therefore, how this regulation is done should be discussed. I have no doubt there will be some sort of regulation, the question is how it will be done – he says.

Emphasizing the avoidance of credible practice, Prado points out that the approved report focuses on competition issues, but there are other points, such as the use of data and the spread of misinformation, that come to the fore when discussing the topic:

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– The political and financial power of these companies is so great that states have to impose limits on the issue of competition and other activities.

Apple logo photo on the front of a company store in Paris: Gonzalo Fuentes / 15-7-2020 / REUTERS
Apple logo photo on the front of a company store in Paris: Gonzalo Fuentes / 15-7-2020 / REUTERS

Leonardo Neves, a researcher at the Center for Future and International Intelligence at FGV, points out that the campaign power of these companies could dilute some of the plans in future bills.

He acknowledges that the impact these companies have on the economy and politics is positive for regulatory efforts:

– The impact of these institutions on political life creates this regulatory movement. The political community is concerned with their own freedom.

‘Division considers some competitors’

For Neves, hopeless actions could have long-term implications, meaning they could provoke more competition in the future. The researcher recalled that because many of these large companies have a monopolistic nature in their strategies, the practice of development through the acquisition of other companies is common in the field of technology.

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– If there are so many social networks like this, some people will be so interested to participate in Facebook. The department assumes they will have some competitors. These actions, if approved, cause disruptions in the lives of these companies. I do not believe it will make a big impact in the short term. But in the middle, other companies with innovative ideas will not be bought and may try to compete in the future

Microsoft logo photo in Los Angeles, California: REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson
Microsoft logo photo in Los Angeles, California: REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson

Efforts to control the technology giants are not new, says Christian Perron, its law and technology coordinator. He recalled the use of hopeless measures to control Microsoft in the 1990s.

It also points out that President Joe Biden has appointed favorable people to regulate positions in his government.

– This is another movement in this context, the starting point for advancing the debate about the power these companies have acquired. The paths pointed out in the report are excellent, there is still plenty of water to be run to find out how civil society will react to this and what the arguments of the companies will be.

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Pendulum of order

The researcher defines the discussion of regulation in the field of technology as a pendulum. It ranged from the ecstasy of the turn of the century to the anxieties raised from the middle of the last decade with innovations. Peron also mentions that there are other things to discuss Great technologies, In addition to the competition:

Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder Photo: Mike Seker / REUTERS
Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder Photo: Mike Seker / REUTERS

– We are beginning to understand how these companies are of unequal importance in the global context. We need to assess what the implications of over-regulation will be. We still have the space to look for ways to assess the challenge that not only great technologies but also new technologies impose on us. How we deal with misinformation, privacy risks and company size.

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Brazil helps

As for Brazil, Perron points out that the country is still just a spectator of the debate, as it acts more as a technology consumer than as a tool creator:

– We’re a little on the sidelines of that discussion. We are more vulnerable because we are consumers of technology than a manufacturer. As a country in the Southern Hemisphere, we need to look at how the terms of these companies affect us and the implications for accessing technical services.