Opinion | Is This the Big Tech Breakup We’ve Been Waiting For?

Produced by ‘Sway’

Representative David Cicilline, Democrat of Rhode Island, is joining forces with Republicans like Ken Buck and Burgess Owens to push through a suite of new antitrust legislation aimed at Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. If the five bills are passed (without being watered down), they will empower regulators, raise the bar for mergers and acquisitions, and make it a whole lot easier for enforcers to break up businesses. The power of Big Tech is not new, so Kara starts by asking Representative Cicilline: Why did it take so long for Congress to try and catch up?

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In this conversation, she and Cicilline break down the bills and discuss why the timing for sweeping tech regulation is particularly ripe in the aftermath of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol enabled by social media. Kara presses the lawmaker to respond to criticisms — including the notion that the proposed legislation robs the tech robber barons of the proceeds of their innovation and allows government to pick and choose winners in a way that feels more fit for China than the United States. And she asks him why he thinks Big Tech is the common enemy that can unite Democrats and Republicans.

(A full transcript of the episode will be available midday on the Times website.)

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“Sway” is produced by Nayeema Raza, Blakeney Schick, Heba Elorbany, Matt Kwong and Daphne Chen, and edited by Nayeema Raza and Paula Szuchman; fact-checking by Kate Sinclair; music and sound design by Isaac Jones; mixing by Erick Gomez; audience strategy by Shannon Busta. Special thanks to Kristin Lin, Liriel Higa and Ernie Indradat.

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