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Big Tech critic Khan becomes U.S. FTC chair

Stock MarketsJun 15, 2021 06:35PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: FTC Commissioner nominee Lina M. Khan testifies during a Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on the nomination of Former Senator Bill Nelson to be NASA administrator, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 21, 20

By David Shepardson, Nandita Bose and Diane Bartz

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -Lina Khan, an antitrust researcher focused on Big Tech's immense market power, was sworn in on Tuesday as chair of the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, a victory for progressives seeking a clampdown on tech firms who hold a hefty share of a growing sector of the economy.

Hours earlier, the U.S. Senate had confirmed Khan, with bipartisan support.

She recently taught at Columbia Law School. Previously, as a staffer for the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel, she helped write a massive report alleging abuses of market dominance by Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Inc.

"We applaud President Biden and the Senate for recognizing the urgent need to address runaway corporate power," advocacy group Public Citizen said in a statement.

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted that the administration's selection of Khan was "tremendous news."

"With Chair Khan at the helm, we have a huge opportunity to make big, structural change by reviving antitrust enforcement and fighting monopolies that threaten our economy, our society, and our democracy," Warren said in a separate statement.

The Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), whose board includes representatives from tech companies, issued a statement warning that a "populist approach to antitrust" would "cause lasting self-inflicted damage that benefits foreign, less meritorious rivals."

The federal government and groups of states are pursuing various lawsuits and investigations into Big Tech companies. The FTC has sued Facebook and is investigating Amazon. The Justice Department has sued Google.

Ahead of Khan's appointment, Google and Amazon declined comment and Apple and Facebook did not respond to a request for comment.

Biden previously selected fellow progressive and Big Tech critic Tim Wu to join the National Economic Council.

In 2017, Khan wrote a highly regarded article, "Amazon's Antitrust Paradox," for the Yale Law Journal. It argued that the traditional antitrust focus on price was inadequate to identify antitrust harms done by Amazon.

In addition to antitrust, the FTC investigates allegations of deceptive advertising.

On that front, Khan will join an agency adapting to a unanimous Supreme Court ruling from April which said the agency could not use a particular part of its statute, 13(b), to demand consumers get restitution from deceptive companies but can only ask for an injunction. Congress is considering a legislative fix.

Khan previously worked at the FTC as a legal adviser to Commissioner Rohit Chopra, Biden's pick to be director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Big Tech critic Khan becomes U.S. FTC chair
 

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Comments (6)
Mohd Asmadibin Ramli Ramli
Mohd Asmadibin Ramli Ramli Jul 15, 2021 7:56PM ET
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you what wrong canabis all this job Allah help want true man Allah say
Mohd Asmadibin Ramli Ramli
Mohd Asmadibin Ramli Ramli Jul 15, 2021 7:51PM ET
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2020 iused this phone this money buyfrist itake EPF ibuy this phonevivo old phone only speak andwassap
Ur Daddy
Ur Daddy Jun 15, 2021 6:13PM ET
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antitrust=jealous of others' success
Benjamin McIntire
Benjamin McIntire Jun 15, 2021 6:13PM ET
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Thats not what that means lmfao
Jake Compeau
Jake Compeau Jun 15, 2021 5:48PM ET
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🤣🤣🤣🤣 They legalize cannabis, are upset they lose thousands of government jobs so they have to find something else new to hate. This is like the vape industry, if you're old enough there's consequences to your decisions. 🤷‍♂️ Free Market!!!!
Felipe Daniel
Felipe Daniel Jun 15, 2021 1:38PM ET
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Democrats will do nothing about Big Tech they are both on the same team to suppress freedom of speech, that means anything at all that does not conform to the narrative.
HD HD
HD HD Jun 15, 2021 1:38PM ET
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your freedom of speech is still intact. go outside and yell at the cloud. boom freedom of speech. what does big tech have to do with it ?
JD Guti
JD Guti Jun 15, 2021 1:38PM ET
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HD HD  Obviously Big Tech has an agenda. Express any views to contrary and they will shot you down.
Tyler Phillis
Tyler Phillis Jun 15, 2021 1:34PM ET
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Looks like the altruists are gunning for technology now. Human suffering is thier goal…
 
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