By Armando Salazar | Oped Sepcial to OW
The COVID-19 pandemic has led millions of businesses to conduct more of our business online. Many small business owners have only been able to survive by accessing the online marketplace. This is going to be one of the lasting impacts of the pandemic, and restaurants like mine are going to need continued access to the online services that we have come to rely on.
Despite this, Congress is currently considering tech regulation legislation, the “American Innovation and Choice Online Act,” (HR 3816/SR 2992) and the “Ending Platform Monopolies Act,” (HR 3825), that will disrupt the digital tools that businesses in our communities depend on at a time when our economic recovery is anything but certain.
HR 3825 would prohibit any potential “conflict of interest” and would force Google to sell off products like Gmail, YouTube, and Google Maps. If passed, HR 3825 would put these free services at risk and eliminate one of the ways that businesses reach and retain their customers. HR 3816 and SR 2992 would forbid platforms from prioritizing their own products and services. This would mean that Amazon would be banned from providing free two-day shipping for Prime products, and that Google would be stopped from displaying shopping results, Google maps, or local business reviews.
During the pandemic, businesses banded together to support each other and our customers, but this bill would make it harder for those customers to find information about us through Google searches.
Now is not the time to create new costs and burdens for business. Congress should stand up for the businesses in their districts and oppose HR 3816, SR 2992, and HR