For Immediate Release: July 28, 2020
Color Of Change Issues Statement in Advance of Antitrust Hearing
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Ahead of the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee hearing with the CEOs of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google, Color Of Change released the following statement from Vice President Arisha Hatch:
“This is the moment we’ve been waiting for — the opportune time for Congress to give antitrust the attention it requires and demand accountability from Big Tech. Public approval of these companies is at an all-time low. Employees are dissenting. And Color Of Change and our civil rights partners have successfully pushed 1,000 advertisers to pull millions of dollars in ad revenue from Facebook and its platforms, forcing concessions on two of our long-standing demands: the creation of a senior role to oversee civil rights and the implementation of a dedicated team to study algorithmic racial bias.
But, if Facebook’s lackluster response to a highly successful ad boycott tells us anything, it’s that civil rights organizations and corporate advertisers alone cannot enact systemic changes to the incentive structure of these tech and e-commerce juggernauts, whose unfettered growth has accelerated racial inequities.
These companies are not only profiting off of hate speech and misinformation, but their consolidation has threatened the promise of equality and opportunity for Black communities. From driving the racial wealth gap by exploiting Black labor and talent, to erasing Black-owned businesses and collecting predatory data collection that contributes to price gouging and exclusion of Black communities from equitable employment, credit, and housing opportunities, these companies are responsible for much more harm than they will ever admit.
Fortunately, Congress and the federal agencies it oversees have the power and the resources to effectively counter the dominance of Big Tech at the scale we need.
This hearing can serve as an important first step toward exercising that full authority, by:
- Empowering and resourcing the Federal Trade Commission to enforce antitrust laws against technology oligarchs.
- Convening a series of civil rights-focused hearings with high-level executives and CEOs from all of the major companies, with particular focus on those trafficking in disinformation.
- Restoring funding for the Office of Technology Assessment in order to help Congress tackle issues such as data privacy and tech election protection.
- Making robust civil rights protections an essential element of any privacy legislation, including by passing Senator Gillibrand’s Data Protection Act, which would create a consumer watchdog agency that is resourced to ensure we all are able to have control and protection of our data and that there is a competitive digital marketplace.
Inaction from Congress would be far worse than that of the companies brought to the floor today for interrogation. Congress must take steps to implement 21st-century rules of the road for the tech industry, otherwise the monopolistic power of these companies will continue to go unchecked. ”
On June 24, 2020, Color Of Change Senior Campaign Director Brandi Collins-Dexter testified to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, outlining the harms made by technology platforms when they fail to uphold societal values of transparency, accountability, and fairness. In her testimony, she shared detailed steps that Congress can take to limit the role of Big Tech and minimize racialized harms.