A group of bipartisan senators in the United States introduced a new bill on Thursday aimed at regulating online advertising and reducing the clout of major tech companies such as Google and Facebook. This move signals that lawmakers are continuing their efforts to rein in the power of Big Tech in the new congressional session. The proposed legislation targets Alphabet’s Google and Meta’s Facebook, as well as Apple and Amazon, according to a statement from Senator Mike Lee’s office.
The bill seeks to prevent large digital advertising firms, with Google being the largest, from owning more than one part of the stack of services that connect advertisers with companies that have space for advertisements. The proposed legislation would only apply to companies that perform more than $20 billion in digital ad transactions, meaning that affected firms would have to exceed the $20 billion threshold.
The statement from Lee’s office explained that, “If enacted into law, this bill would most likely require Google and Facebook to divest significant portions of their advertising businesses-business units that account for or facilitate a large portion of their ad revenue.” It also noted that Amazon may have to make divestments, and that the bill will affect Apple’s accelerating entry into third-party ads.
While the affected companies have not yet commented on the bill, it’s clear that the proposed legislation could have significant implications for the tech industry. The bill’s sponsors include antitrust experts such as Senators Mike Lee and Amy Klobuchar, along with Senators Elizabeth Warren, Josh Hawley, and John Kennedy, who are Republican tech skeptics.
This is not the first time that Congress has attempted to regulate Big Tech. In the last legislative session, lawmakers passed bills to provide regulators with bigger budgets and to strengthen state attorneys general, but legislation aimed at reining in Big Tech failed to pass. It remains to be seen whether this new bill will be successful, but it represents another important step in the ongoing battle between regulators and tech giants over market power and antitrust issues.