In what many are calling a bold move, Senator John Kennedy is creating legislation that would temporarily suspend antitrust laws for small media outlets to have better collective negotiations with larger companies using their content. As platforms like Google and Facebook continue to swell with influence, it’s easy to see how smaller outlets can be exploited. Many tech giants hide behind current antitrust laws in order to get deals on profit sharing that hurt the little guys. Kennedy is co-sponsoring the bill with Minnesota Senator and Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar.
“The small newspapers or radio stations are doing all the work and then Google, or Facebook, are taking all of the work product and they put it on their website, and then go sell advertising,” Kennedy argues.
Kennedy has been careful to note the bill is not about penalizing the private sector, but rather protecting exploited parties and allowing for more balanced negotiation. This bill is sure to fall on mixed opinions should it pass. For one, conservatives have long been wary of governmental interference in the private sector. While this particular bill is in defense of small businesses, could it create a dangerous precedent? Senator Kennedy has treaded lightly around this sentiment, stating, “Google, Facebook, and a number of other social media companies are great American companies, they’ve been extraordinarily successful. They are very big. Big in and of itself is not bad.”
A bipartisan chorus has been calling for antitrust laws to break up tech monopolies and their limitless influence, while Kennedy has no official stance on the issue. One thing is for sure; this will not be the last time antitrust laws are revisited in regards to monopolies online – in fact, the Trump administration is said to be exploring antitrust actions against Google, Apple, Amazon and Facebook this summer. Moving forward, the country will continue to pressure lawmakers into protecting small business and promoting fair compensation while not interfering in the private sector. This may be all but impossible.