Politico: Anti-Facebook agitators see their moment under Biden

December 26, 2020 Media

Facebook endured a deluge of political scrutiny in Donald Trump’s Washington. It’s poised to face even worse in the Joe Biden era.

From lawmakers on Capitol Hill to antitrust enforcers at the Federal Trade Commission, Washington is training its sights on the world’s largest social network like never before. Biden’s antitrust enforcers will take ownership of a lawsuit the FTC filed this month threatening to dismantle the sprawling company. And his staff will negotiate legislative proposals with congressional leaders who have hammered Facebook for mishandling its users’ personal data and spreading hate speech and dangerous falsehoods.

“It’s just not a great business strategy to piss off the incoming president,” said Sally Hubbard, the director of enforcement strategy at the Open Markets Institute, which has advocated for antitrust enforcement against Facebook, Google and other big tech firms.

She and other tech critics are putting pressure on Biden to take a different approach than past administrations, and they already have several allies advising the transition as it prepares to take over next month. Gene Kimmelman of Public Knowledge and Sarah Miller of the American Economic Liberties Project, both regular critics of the tech industry’s market power, are assisting Biden with the Justice and Treasury department transitions, respectively.