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Jayapal, Buck, Cicilline, Owens, Gaetz Introduce Bipartisan Bill to End Big Tech’s Grasp on the Digital Ad Industry

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representatives Pramila Jayapal, (WA-07), Ken Buck (CO-04), David Cicilline (RI-01), Burgess Owens (UT-04), and Matt Gaetz (FL-01) introduced a bipartisan bill that serves as a companion to U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) legislation, the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act. 

If passed into law, the bill would restore and protect competition in digital advertising markets by preventing companies that generate more than $20 billion in digital ad revenue from participating in both sides of the digital advertising markets. This bill takes direct aim at Google and Facebook’s ad market duopoly by preventing them from acting as both buyers and sellers.

“This bill is essential to save local newspapers and independent journalism. We cannot have these Big Tech monopolies like Google and Facebook continue to have a chokehold on the digital advertising ecosystem. Google in particular has total control of the ad market: it runs the marketplace where local newspapers have to advertise, and then it controls both the Buy-side and the Sell-side of that marketplace.  If Google were a bank, it would be prohibited from acting on both sides—but in this Big Tech world, there is no regulation to prevent this monopolistic practice,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “With this bill, we’re finally going to have regulations in place that prevent these big companies from playing both sides of the field and strangling competition.”

“This vital legislation will help restore competition in the digital ad tech marketplace and ensure the market remains free from monopoly domination while positively impacting both businesses and consumers that use the services. It is imperative that Congress acts to stifle Big Tech’s anticompetitive behavior,” said Congressman Buck.

“The online advertising market is monopolized, opaque, and rigged in favor of just two companies: Google and Facebook,” said Congressman Cicilline. “In the case of Google, it controls both sides of the market for buying and selling advertisements online, and routinely exploits this conflict of interest to favor its own services or extract higher prices from other companies. The combined dominance of Google and Facebook is an existential threat to news publishers and small businesses, and their abuse of this dominance imposes a hidden tax on consumers every day. I applaud Representatives Buck and Jayapal for introducing the Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act, which is a structural solution to this structural problem.”

“The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act (CTDA) provides for an integral mechanism to prevent Big Tech from continuing to exploit the digital advertising marketplace. As giant Big Tech companies, such as Google, continue to simultaneously own the supply and demand side of advertising transactions, thus steering bids to their own services at the detriment of everyone else, CTDA would immediately put an end to this. CTDA would prohibit large digital advertising companies from owning more than one side of the digital advertising system and require the largest companies to provide transparency to their customers. It’s time to put an end to the circular system in digital advertising exploited by Big Tech,” said Congressman Gaetz.

“Digital advertising is the lifeblood of the internet economy. Companies like Google and Facebook have been able to exploit their unprecedented troves of detailed user data to obtain vice grip-like control over digital advertising, amassing power on every side of the market and using it to block competition and take advantage of their customers,” said Senator Lee.

A copy of the legislation can be found here.