Senator Josh Hawley is pushing for action on social media and tech companies which he says are “pushing addiction and rewarding addiction.” Hawley is a long-time foe of Google from his days as Missouri Attorney General, and he is bringing his long fight to the U.S. Senate now. At The American Conservative, James Pinkerton explains Hawley’s mission, writing (abridged):
The Wall Street Journal’s May 31 report that the Justice Department is preparing an antitrust investigation against Google is, in a word, yuge. And The Washington Post’s June 1 report that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will be similarly scrutinizing Amazon is equally yuge.
Whatever one thinks of President Donald Trump, superlatives about size are in order with regard to these investigations—if, that is, one or both of them actually turn into lawsuits. And if even one goes forward, it will likely spell the end of Big Tech hegemony. (Or perhaps, we should say, the end of the current era of tech hegemony. After all, technology is a permanent force, as is the human will to power—and so somewhere in the future, the great wheel will turn yet again.).
Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, an emerging leader of the new breed of populist Republicans, immediately tweeted his support for the looming antitrust action against Google, calling it “very big news, long overdue.” Indeed, back in 2017, when Hawley was his state’s attorney general, he launched an investigation into Google. As he said at the time: “When a company has access to as much consumer information as Google does, it’s my duty to ensure they are using it appropriately. I will not let Missouri consumers and businesses be exploited by industry giants.”
On June 1, in an interview with NBC News, Hawley went even further: “We should have a discussion about the business model of the social media platforms as they have evolved as an ad-supported business model that is pushing addiction and rewarding addiction.”
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