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Consumer Reports Supports New Senate Legislation to Address Discriminatory Conduct by the Largest Online Platforms

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Consumer Reports announced today its support of the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Charles E. Grassley and others. Similar legislation has been approved by the House Judiciary Committee on a bipartisan basis. As the online marketplace continues to be dominated by a few major companies, this legislation will enhance consumer choice and allow for greater competition. 

The proposed bill will make the online marketplace more open by prohibiting discriminatory conduct by giant online platforms, limiting self-preferencing, exclusionary conduct, and discrimination among businesses that use or seek to use the platforms. The bill also includes specific non-discrimination requirements which would allow for greater interoperability, restrict how the largest platforms are able to use non-public data, and allow users to change default options and uninstall software.

Sumit Sharma, senior researcher, tech competition at Consumer Reports, said, “These market rules should mean that consumer choice is not artificially constricted by the largest online platforms and consumers can more easily tailor services to suit their own needs. The rules will help break down the closed product and service ecosystems that so many of us find ourselves trapped in today.”

Consumer Reports supports the bipartisan, bicameral effort to address problems with the market power exerted by large online platforms to block competition and deny consumers choice and value. 

CR’s recent paper ‘The Case For Fair Market Rules For The Largest Online Platforms,’ explains how this bill and other bipartisan proposals would help consumers. These proposals include the ACCESS Act, which requires giant online platforms to offer interoperability and portability, and the Platform Competition and Opportunity Act, which will require corporations that own or control a giant online platform to justify new acquisitions over $50 million.

“We applaud Senators Klobuchar and Grassley and their colleagues for their commitment to foster an online marketplace that works for consumers, with sound competition-based rules that give a fair opportunity for choices to reach them,” said George Slover, senior policy counsel at Consumer Reports.

Contact: Cyrus Rassool, cyrus.rassool@consumer.org