WASHINGTON, D.C. – Consumer Reports praised the Senate Judiciary Committee today for approving a bipartisan bill that would begin to address problems created by the dominant market power of the largest online platforms.
In the current digital marketplace, consumers are at a disadvantage because they lack meaningful choices, allowing these giant online platforms to shape marketplaces without due care for consumers. Structural market features and strategic firm behavior mean this market power and related consumer harms will continue unless there is policy intervention.
Consumer Reports submitted a letter in support of the American Innovation and Choice Online Act to members of the committee. CR said the bill is a sound and practical proposal, with a solid foundation in antitrust and economic principles. The bill is narrowly targeted at online activities where the marketplace is not working, and the proposed fair market rules will directly benefit consumers. The Act also includes effective safeguards against unintended adverse effects. It will enable our laws to better achieve their mission of preserving and promoting competition, and the benefits competition brings to consumers and businesses large and small in the online marketplace.
In previous surveys by CR, consumers have overwhelmingly said that big tech companies have too much power. In a nationally representative online survey by CR from September 2020, roughly 3 out of 4 Americans worried about the power wielded by today’s biggest tech platforms.
Sumit Sharma, senior researcher for tech competition at Consumer Reports, said, “We support the American Innovation and Choice Act. The bill will stop the largest online platforms from imposing their self-serving rules on markets and society. The bill will benefit consumers by making it easier to install, choose, and use alternative apps and online services. It will remove the roadblocks that the largest online platforms have put up to hinder innovation by competitors. We will see more innovation as a result of the bill, which will create more choices for consumers. ”
George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports, added, “It’s high time to counter the damage being caused to consumers and the economy by the dominant market power of the largest online platforms. This bill is a tremendous step forward to ensuring that the online marketplace works for consumers, for businesses large and small that seek to serve their needs, and for all who seek to reach them on the internet. ”
CR released a report recently which analyzes the American Innovation and Choice Online Act in detail.
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Founded in 1936, Consumer Reports (CR) is an independent, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization that works with consumers to create a fair and just marketplace. Known for its rigorous testing and ratings of products, CR advocates for laws and company practices that put consumers first. CR is dedicated to amplifying the voices of consumers to promote safety, digital rights, financial fairness, and sustainability. The organization surveys millions of Americans every year, reports extensively on the challenges and opportunities for today’s consumers, and provides ad-free content and tools to 6 million members across the U.S.