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Biden signs order to crack down on Big Tech, boost competition ‘across the board’

US President Joe Biden speaks about the situation in Afghanistan from the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, July 8, 2021.
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

The White House on Friday will announce a new executive order aimed at cracking down on competitive practices in Big Tech, CNBC’s Ylan Mui reported.

President Joe Biden’s administration will make the case that the biggest companies in the tech sector are wielding their power to box out smaller competitors and exploit consumers’ personal information, Mui said on CNBC’s “Worldwide Exchange.”

The order will call for regulators to enact reforms such as increasing their scrutiny of tech mergers and putting more focus on moves like “killer acquisitions,” in which firms acquire smaller brands to take them out of the market, according to Mui.

The tech giants’ tightened grip has led to a decline in innovation, White House chief economic advisor Brian Deese told Mui in an exclusive interview.

Those platforms have “created significant problems,” Deese said. That includes “problems for users in terms of privacy and security” and “problems for small businesses in terms of entering markets,” he said.

The order will be unveiled just a few weeks after the House Judiciary Committee voted to advance six antitrust bills aimed at revitalizing competition in the tech sector.

The bills, which would make it harder for dominant firms to complete mergers and outlaw certain common business models for such firms, have faced significant bipartisan pushback from those concerned that they don’t go far enough or will have unintended side effects.

In late June, a judge threw out complaints from the Federal Trade Commission and a group of state attorneys general alleging Facebook has illegally maintained monopoly power.

Biden’s executive order also calls on the FTC to craft new rules on Big Tech’s data collection and user surveillance practices, and asks the agency to prohibit certain unfair methods of competition on internet marketplaces, Mui reported.

The order could provide some relief to small and medium-sized businesses that have complained of the allegedly crippling grip of tech firms such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google over digital markets.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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