Today is #AntitrustDay! Massive coalition of "the rest of the Internet" launches day of action

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
April 4, 2022
Screenshot of #AntitrustDay banner in the Yelp app

A broad coalition of human rights groups, small businesses, and tech companies is driving calls, emails, and Tweets calling on Congress to pass antitrust bills AICOA and OAMA

Today, a broad coalition of more than 100 advocacy groups and tech companies have launched Antitrust Day to demonstrate the widespread support for tech antitrust bills being considered by Congress including American Innovation and Choice Online Act (AICOA) and Open App Markets Act (OAMA). 

The homepage of private search engine DuckDuckGo has a call to action that reads “Tell Congress you want [ctrl]. #AntitrustDay.” If you open the Yelp app on your phone, you’ll be greeted by a prominent banner linking to AntitrustDay.org where visitors can call and email their legislators with a few clicks.

Other supporters of the action include Match Group (Tinder, OK Cupid), Coalition for App Fairness, Automattic (WordPress, Tumblr), Patreon, ProtonMail, Beeper, Sonos, ActionNetwork, Tor, Fubo TV, and Brave, and advocacy organizations including Fight for the Future, MoveOn, Center for Countering Digital Hate, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Consumer Reports, Public Knowledge, Friends of the Earth, Ranking Digital Rights, RAICES, and Demand Progress. Prominent startup investors Initialized Capital and Ycombinator are also supporting the effort.

Screenshot of #AntitrustDay promotion on DuckDuckGo.com homepage

OAMA would end Google and Apple’s chokehold on mobile applications, giving consumers more control over their own devices. AICOA would ban Big Tech from self-dealing promoting its own products in an anti-competitive manner. This type of legislation would increase competition, giving tech users more control over their digital lives, and reduce the monopoly power of Big Tech giants, which has been abused as a choke point for censorship and human rights violations.

Screenshot of #AntitrustDay banner on Basecamp’s homepage

Both bills have bipartisan backing and are scheduled for a floor vote in the coming weeks. The campaign page can be found here: AntitrustDay.org

Coalition members issued the following statements:

Evan Greer, director of Fight for the Future 

“Big Tech companies have too much power. And they’re abusing that power in ways that undermine human rights and pose an existential threat to democracy. The Open Apps Market Act is an essential bill that ensures people have the basic right to choose what software they run on devices they own, and it pushes back on restrictive app store policies that have been a convenient censorship choke point for authoritarian governments. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act is a common sense measure to prevent the largest tech companies from stifling competition. These bills enjoy broad bipartisan support. It’s time for House and Senate leadership to do their jobs and move these bills to the floor.” 

Luther Lowe, Senior Vice President of Public Policy, Yelp 

“A bipartisan, overwhelming majority of Americans support strengthening our antitrust laws. It is time for Congress to pass narrowly tailored legislation to curb the most egregious forms of self-dealing by Big Tech. These reforms are long overdue.” 

Katie McInnis, Senior Public Policy Manager, DuckDuckGo 

“For too long, dominant tech companies like Google have employed anti-competitive tactics to stifle rivals and protect their status in the digital market. These self-preferencing tactics harm competition as well as consumers, as they deprive us of the innovations a competitive market would bring and make it hard for users to choose the services they want. It is time for Congress to help restore competition by acting on bills like the American Innovation and Choice Online Act.”  

David Heinemeier Hansson, Chief Technology Office, Basecamp 

“The big antitrust movement finally seems to be before us, and it’s not a minute too soon. We simply can’t spend another decade in darkness under the shadow of monopoly power. Basecamp has been along for the fight since Representatives Buck and Cicilline held their big-tech hearings a couple of years ago, and we’re here to support turning those findings into law.” 

Rich Stables, CEO of shopping comparison site, Kelkoo Group 

“Big Tech’s self-preferencing has forced small businesses to operate within a straitjacket, with some going to the wall as a result. Google’s playbook of  ‘delay delay delay’ as seen in Europe and playing god with people’s livelihoods has to end. Today’s campaign launch is the strongest possible statement to monopolists who persist in promoting their own services and demoting competitors: equal treatment should be a basic principle, with competitors allowed the same opportunities as Google, and we will continue to fight until this is a reality. When this happens, consumers win too – with more choice and lower prices. The U.S is a key global market for commerce and innovation and we look forward to a brighter future for small businesses  - and for the American Dream to become a reality again.” 

Sridhar Ramaswamy, CEO and Co-Founder, Neeva 

“For too long, Big Tech has exploited consumer data, abused market share, taxed small businesses, and stifled competition to remain the most powerful gatekeepers to our entire online experience. Contrary to what most people think, the biggest challenge to competing in search with a company like Google is not engineering, innovation, or capital but rather fair and equitable access to the market. It’s long overdue for Washington to act, and this bipartisan legislation will meaningfully rein in Big Tech’s anticompetitive behavior leading to a new era of competition and technological innovation.” 

Rick VanMeter, Executive Director, Coalition for App Fairness 

“Dominant tech companies have used their monopoly power to disadvantage rivals through tactics that harm competition and reduce consumer choice. Passing bipartisan bills like the Open App Markets Act would help consumers and app developers by promoting open and fair competition in the digital marketplace. The Coalition for App Fairness is proud to join this diverse group of organizations and stands with them urging Congress to consider legislation that would address the anticompetitive practices of big tech gatekeepers.”  

Sumit Sharma, Senior Researcher, Consumer Reports 

“The fair market rules proposed in S.2992 and S.2710 will mean consumers can more easily choose, install, and use alternative apps and online services; mix and match services from different providers; and break out of closed product ecosystems. The bills will allow permissionless technology innovation by all, not just the largest platforms, and provide the economic space for innovators and consumers to experiment with alternative business models and ways for paying for services. This increased competition and innovation will bring many benefits like enabling consumers to choose services that better match their needs and budget without compromising on privacy and security.” 

Maria Langholz, Communications Director, Demand Progress 

“We are approaching a make-or-break moment for revitalizing our democracy and restoring fair competition to our economy. Congress has has a critical role to play in modernizing antitrust enforcement to rein in the power of modern-day monopolies like Amazon and Facebook/Meta. We are mobilizing our members on this day of action because the window for reining in Big Tech’s dominance may soon be closing. Action cannot wait.” 

Charlotte Slaiman, Competition Policy Director at Public Knowledge 

“We no longer have an internet that is open enough for two college kids in a garage to start the Next Big Thing. Consumers are frustrated by the same old internet products and yearning for innovative alternatives. We need pro-competition reforms to open up digital platforms so they actually have to compete.” 

Nicole Gill, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Accountable Tech 

“Big Tech corporations have used small business owners as a shield against reform, avoiding accountability for too long. The truth is that every time the U.S. has enacted substantive antitrust legislation consumers have benefited, small businesses have grown, innovation has been strengthened, and competition has thrived. It is long past time to rein in Big Tech.”   

Andy Yen, Founder & CEO, Proton AG: “Policymakers, companies, and consumers up and down the board realize that the digital economy is designed to minimize choice and reduce competition. The proposals put forth by Washington are neither radical nor threats to innovation. Merely stopping gatekeepers from self-preferencing their own products and simply opening up online marketplaces will not somehow destroy the American tech sector. They will instead level the playing field, encourage competition, and ultimately give consumers more choice over the digital services they use. Innovation decreases as industries become dominated by a few entrenched players. These bills would instead encourage bottom-up disruption, which would usher in a new era of technological breakthroughs. It’s no accident that so many different organizations — despite varying missions, services, business models, and even politics — support these proposals, and we encourage Congress to take the next step by taking them up for floor debate and passing them into law.”

Perry Toone – Founder, Thexyz Inc (thexyz.com): The environment for ‘users’ of Big Tech is like a prison. It is time to put the power back with people so people have the choice to choose what they do with their data. Having the ability to choose is a fundamental right to any democratic society.

Sacha Haworth, Executive Director at the Tech Oversight Project: “In the fight to hold Big Tech responsible for their wrong-doing, we are at a historic must-win moment. In order to hold companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon accountable for predatory practices, spreading disinformation, misusing people’s most personal data, and targeting children, then we need to pass antitrust reform right now. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act and the Open App Markets Act will level the playing field and ensure that Big Tech can no longer operate unchecked.”

Allison K Hill, CEO of ABA: “ABA is proud to join in this day of action to build on the growing momentum to renew antitrust enforcement and level the playing field for independent businesses. With this legislation, Congress has the power to unlock the potential of Americans to grow successful businesses and build an economy that is more prosperous, equitable, and innovative. For too long, Amazon has sold books at or below cost to lure customers to its site and has wielded its market dominance and concentrated power to box out small businesses selling on the third-party marketplace.” 

Sean O’Brien, founder of Yale Privacy Lab and Lecturer in Cybersecurity at Yale Law School

“Big Tech is the symptom of an even bigger problem. Across the IT industry, monopolists abuse their position to hoard troves of data and block competition – not only causing privacy harm for millions of consumers but stopping small innovators from deploying privacy-respecting alternatives.”

For press inquiries: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org