US antitrust enforcement is coming back from the dead

Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) asks a question at a hearing on July 12th, 2018 in Washington, DC. Cicilline has announced a broad new antitrust inquiry into tech giants

As tech companies acquired billions of users, and competition has withered, the United States paid only passing interest to antitrust concerns. Facebook’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram were approved without a hitch; Amazon successfully crushed other online retailers by temporarily lowering prices; Google began promoting its own search results (and affiliate marketing links) over those of competitors like Yelp and Expedia.

But perceptions of the internet giants began to turn in the aftermath of the 2016 election, which also produced a House of Representatives controlled by Democrats, and a swelling field of Democratic presidential candidates (led by Sen. Elizabeth Warren) who increasingly favor antitrust enforcement.

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