When It Comes to Big Tech, Regulatory Ambition Ignores Consumers’ Choices

In the halls of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and across the Atlantic in the chambers of the European Commission (EC), not to mention within the borders of Florida and Texas, government officials seem to believe they are better suited than market forces to shape the futures of successful tech platforms like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and YouTube. Instead of letting consumers and investors vote with their time and wallets, these regulators prefer the blunt instrument of government authority to impose their visions on an industry already pulsing with innovation and competition.

The FTC, driven by Chair Lina Khan, is fixated on reengineering markets by, for example, breaking up Amazon and Meta, ignoring how customers have flocked to the large and successful companies that she seeks to shrink. Khan wants to make Amazon more like eBay, which saw a notable decline in its user base during the pandemic. Her fixation fails to acknowledge the vibrant ecosystem that drew millions of customers to Amazon while eBay shrunk. The story is similar with Facebook and Instagram, with the latter’s pre-acquisition struggles to create a functioning business model casting doubt on the wisdom of forcibly decoupling these two.

Read Dr. Jamison’s complete blog post at AEI.