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Presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren wants breakup of Google, Facebook and Amazon

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Senator Elizabeth Warren said on Friday that if elected U.S. president she would seek to break up Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc’s Google and Facebook Inc as part of a structural change to the tech sector aimed at promoting competition.

Warren, who is seeking to stand out in a Democratic field crowded with progressives vying to take on U.S. President Donald Trump in the November 2020 election, said in a blog post that on their way to the top, the companies purchased potential competitors, like Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram.

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“They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation,” Warren wrote.

Amazon shares were down 0.8 percent while Facebook was down 0.2 percent while Alphabet slipped 0.1 percent in morning trade on Friday.

Warren said that she would nominate regulators who would unwind acquisitions such as Facebook’s deals for WhatsApp and Instagram, Amazon’s deals for Whole Foods and Zappos, and Google’s purchases of Waze, Nest and DoubleClick.

Amazon and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Facebook declined to comment.

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NetChoice, an e-commerce trade group whose members include Facebook and other online companies, said Warren’s plan would lead to higher prices for Americans.

“Sen. Warren is wrong in her assertion that tech markets lack competition. Never before have consumers and workers had more access to goods, services, and opportunities online,” said Carl Szabo, vice president and general counsel for NetChoice.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a think tank that promotes free markets, called Warren’s plan a “doomed regulatory experiment.”

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“The next wave of technological innovations will likely require enormous economies of scale to serve consumers. In the meantime, there are no barriers to entry for the next killer app or sector-disrupting entrepreneur,” said Jessica Melugin, the CEI’s associate director for technology and innovation.

The liberal activist group Demand Progress has previously called for the U.S. government to break up Facebook by forcing it to sell Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger.

Tech companies are some of the biggest political donors. Google spent $21 million to lobby in 2018 while Amazon spent $14.2 million and Facebook spent $12.62 million, according to their filings to U.S. Congress.

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Warren made her political mark by going after big banks after the 2007-2009 financial crisis. In the Senate, Warren continues to be an outspoken critic of Wall Street and is a leader of her party’s progressive wing.

Reporting by Sayanti Chakraborty in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Meredith Mazzilli

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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2020 Election

Mass rallies, crazy decisions, grandiose posturing: This is what living in a dictatorship feels like

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Another week of shaking our heads and wondering how much longer we can survive him. Yet again, Donald Trump overwhelmed practically everything with the force of his obscene personality, running his mouth and his thumbs even while he was failing to run the country in any sort of conventional sense. He doesn’t actually do anything, but he dominates everything. Living in America today is like being trapped in a room with him — no doors, no windows, no exits, only Trump and the sound of Trump and the hideous image of Trump, all day, every day, for day after day after day.

This article first appeared in Salon.

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Trump officials furious with NRA over ‘dick move’ leak of LaPierre phone call: report

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President Donald Trump originally appeared interested in strengthening federal background check laws in the wake of deadly mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio. Then, after a phone conversation with National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre on Tuesday, Trump reportedly assured him that background checks were "off the table" and pivoted to discussing anything but guns.

It was a depressingly familiar moment for Trump, who also previously headfaked toward some minor gun control reforms after the Parkland school shooting and quickly walked them back.

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Trump mulling ‘uniquely dystopian’ proposal to use AI to identify mental health issues as risk factors for gun violence

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One critic called the proposal, which expands on Trump's claim that mental illnesses, not guns, are to blame for gun violence, "nothing less than chilling."

In keeping with his insistence that people with mental illnesses, and not the wide availability of guns, are to blame for the epidemic of gun violence and mass shootings in the U.S., President Donald Trump is reportedly considering a new project aimed at detecting mental health issues to stop shootings before they happen.

As The Washington Post reported Thursday, the Trump administration has worked with Bob Wright, a close friend of Trump's and his collaborator on the reality show "The Apprentice," to develop a proposal for a new federal agency that would be called the Health Advanced Research Projects Agency (HARPA), within the Health and Human Services Department.

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