Business Insider: This anti-monopoly group has spent two years campaigning against Facebook’s practices – now it wants to break up Google

April 18, 2020 Media

During Facebook’s Congressional hearing in 2018, as the company’s head of global policy management Monika Bickert took the witness stand, several members of the crowd held up signs depicting Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg as a two-headed octopus. As was soon revealed, these protestors were part of the Freedom From Facebook group, a coalition formed to fight the social network’s increasing monopoly.

Two years later, that same group is rebranding to the Freedom From Facebook And Google coalition, and adding six new groups to its cohort as it expands its scope.

“Google and Facebook enjoy extraordinary market power, with users firmly locked into their services,” wrote the American Economic Liberties Project, one member of the coalition, in a white paper distributed last week. “Today, Google has eight products with more than a billion users each, and Facebook has four products with more than a billion users each. Acquisitions have allowed these two corporations to control the richest and widest data sets on human populations ever assembled.”

“People are kind of primed now, because they understand Facebook, to also understand Google,” said Sarah Miller, executive director of the American Economic Liberties Project, and spokesperson for Freedom From Facebook And Google.

Miller, a former Treasury Department aide, told Business Insider that the Cambridge Analytica scandal that rocked Facebook proved to be a powerful way for the coalition to build its case against the social network and capture public attention.

The group believes attitudes and understandings on Capitol Hill have changed enough since then to launch an influential campaign against Google.

“It’s been a huge incredibly rapid change from having no idea that these institutions are problems, to what do we do about them? Not whether, not when, but what? And who is going to be the one to do that?” said Miller.