Google and Amazon caught astroturfing "grassroots" small business opposition to antitrust bills

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
March 30, 2022

This is why we are organizing #AntitrustDay, an actually grassroots effort backed by dozens of public interest groups and businesses

Politico and CNBC have released bombshell stories exposing a major astroturf operation funded by Big Tech giants Amazon and Google. Their reporting revealed that a Washington, DC based trade group called the “Connected Commerce Council” (C3), which claimed to advocate for small businesses and listed thousands of of them as “members” on their website, is essentially a fraud. Politico’s Emily Birnbaum called almost 200 businesses that C3 claimed as members. Dozens of them said they had never even heard of the group. A spokesperson for C3 confirmed to reporters that Amazon and Google were their “sole” financial support.

Digital rights group Fight for the Future issued the following statement, which can be attributed to the group’s director, Evan Greer (she/her):

“Big Tech giants like Amazon and Google know they can’t win in an honest debate about the harms of their monopoly power and abusive business practices. So they’ve resorted to funding lies and astroturf operations in order to fake grassroots support for their corporate policy goals. Big Telecom monopolies used these exact same tactics against us during the fight for net neutrality. I’m always amazed how brazen they are. It’s almost like they don’t care if they get caught. Their goal is to sow enough doubt that it gives lawmakers cover to vote against their constituents interests and in favor of corporate interests.

This is exactly why we are organizing #AntitrustDay, which is an *actually* grassroots Day of Action in support of the Open App Markets Act (OAMA) and the American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA), bipartisan antitrust bills that would rein in Big Tech monopoly power and give Internet users more control over their online experience. AntitrustDay.org has been endorsed by a broad coalition of human rights and consumer protection organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Reports, Public Knowledge, and Demand Progress, *actual* small business advocates like Small Business Rising, Main Street Alliance, and Small Business Majority, and *actual* small and medium sized tech companies, like DuckDuckGo, Yelp, Sonos, Fubo, and ProtonMail.

Fight for the Future supports OAMA and AICOA because we believe that Big Tech giants monopoly power and surveillance capitalist business models are fundamentally incompatible with basic human rights and democracy. And we believe people should have a basic right to choose what software they run on the devices that they own.

Big Tech’s kings and queens are pulling out all the stops to protect their monopoly status and kill off attempts at effective regulation. It’s time for the rest of the Internet to come together and knock them off their thrones. We’re throwing up the bat signal. Join us for #AntitrustDay on Monday, April 4th. Learn more at AntitrustDay.org

http://antitrustday.org