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In the days that followed the election, some investors bet that President-elect Joe Biden’s White House might be nicer to big tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook on antitrust and privacy issues.
Erik Gordon, professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, spoke with “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio about this. The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.
David Brancaccio: So what’s this sense — that government regulators will somehow lay off on Big Tech when it comes to antitrust given that it’s President-elect Biden?
Erik Gordon: I think Mr. Biden is less strident than Mr. Trump is. But Mr. Biden won’t lay off a lot. For example, the Google antitrust case that’s already been filed — Mr. Biden, President Biden won’t stop that, because that would make him look too cozy with Big Tech.
Brancaccio: Well, he was vice president during the Obama administration, when the Obama administration, in general terms, was loving those Big Techs.
Gordon: Here’s the difference: I think things will move more slowly, more deliberately, perhaps with less arm-waving. Big tech isn’t home free, but I think they are going to have their wings clipped.
Brancaccio: And we should remind ourselves that the effort in the present Congress to scrutinize the Big Tech companies was, in a sense, bipartisan. Republicans and Democrats may have looked at it differently, but they joined together to hold tech’s feet to the fire.
Gordon: And here’s where it’s most bipartisan: not on the antitrust side, but on this Section 230, which is a section of a 1996 law, which has protected a lot of Big Tech, a lot of the platform providers, in ways that I think is going to be whittled away at. That’s where I think the big change comes to Big Tech.
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