Big Tech Firms Pour Millions into Ads Opposing Antitrust Legislation

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Silicon Valley giants like Google, Meta, and Amazon are typically thought of as ruthless competitors, but now they’re acting in unison against a common threat.

With bipartisan support swelling for increased antitrust regulation against tech’s biggest players, tech-funded advocacy groups have spent at least $36 million this year on TV and internet ads opposing any new legislation, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. With the greatest messaging platforms ever created at their fingertips, you’d think Silicon Valley would find a cheaper way to voice their opinions.

The Anti-Antitrust Content Mill

Of particular concern for the cadre of tech giants is The American Innovation and Choice Online Act, which would forbid major tech platforms from favoring or promoting their own products and services over competitors and passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee with bipartisan support in January. Roughly 40% of all spending has come since May 1, with a vote on the Senate floor expected this summer.

Arguments on both sides are so familiar at this point they don’t warrant retweeting. With whom and how Big Tech is spending, however, is slightly more interesting:

  • The biggest spender so far is the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), which has spent $23 million and counts Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Meta as major members. The Consumer Technology Association, and conservative-leaning groups like Taxpayers Protection Alliance and NetChoice have also led oppositional ad campaigns.
  • Ads have particularly targeted states where Senate Democrats are running for re-election, as well as states with Republican senators who have long-espoused pro-business and strong national security views. “If the bills came to the floor for a vote, they would pass, and so big tech lobby groups are scrambling to try to prevent that from happening,” Sacha Haworth, executive director of the pro-regulation Tech Oversight Project, told WSJ.

Groups supporting the antitrust legislation have spent a paltry $193,000 on advertising in comparison, according to a WSJ data analysis. Perhaps a few viral online posts can make up the spending difference.