House Judiciary Committee Launches Bipartisan Investigation into Competition in Digital Markets
Washington, DC, June 3, 2019
Committee will investigate the rise and use of market power online and assess the adequacy of existing antitrust laws and current enforcement levels
Today, the House Judiciary Committee announced a bipartisan investigation into competition in digital markets. The investigation will include a series of hearings held by the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial and Administrative Law on the rise of market power online, as well as requests for information that are relevant to the investigation.
A small number of dominant, unregulated platforms have extraordinary power over commerce, communication, and information online. Based on investigative reporting and oversight by international policymakers and enforcers, there are concerns that these platforms have the incentive and ability to harm the competitive process. The Antitrust Subcommittee will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms. This is the first time Congress has undertaken an investigation into this behavior.
The Committee’s investigation will focus on three main areas:
“The open internet has delivered enormous benefits to Americans, including a surge of economic opportunity, massive investment, and new pathways for education online,” said Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY). “But there is growing evidence that a handful of gatekeepers have come to capture control over key arteries of online commerce, content, and communications. The Committee has a rich tradition of conducting studies and investigations to assess the threat of monopoly power in the U.S. economy. Given the growing tide of concentration and consolidation across our economy, it is vital that we investigate the current state of competition in digital markets and the health of the antitrust laws.”
“The growth of monopoly power across our economy is one of the most pressing economic and political challenges we face today. Market power in digital markets presents a whole new set of dangers,” said Antitrust Subcommittee Chairman David N. Cicilline (D-RI). “After four decades of weak antitrust enforcement and judicial hostility to antitrust cases, it is vital for Congress to step in to determine whether existing laws are adequate to tackle abusive conduct by platform gatekeepers or if we need new legislation.”
“Big Tech plays a huge role in our economy and our world,” said Ranking Member Collins (R-GA). “As tech has expanded its market share, more and more questions have arisen about whether the market remains competitive. Our bipartisan look at competition in the digital markets gives us the chance to answer these questions and, if necessary, to take action. I appreciate the partnership of Chairman Nadler, Subcommittee Chairman Cicilline and Subcommittee Ranking Member Sensenbrenner on these important issues”
“Technology has become a crucial part of Americans’ everyday lives,” said Antitrust Subcommittee Ranking Member Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI). “As the world becomes more dependent on a digital marketplace, we must discuss how the regulatory framework is built to ensure fairness and competition. I believe these hearings can be informative, but it is important for us to avoid any predetermined conclusions. I thank Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Collins, and Chairman Cicilline as we begin these bipartisan discussions.”